Online versus postal data collection methods: an examination of issues and a comparison of results
Adam, Stewart and McDonald, Heath 2003, Online versus postal data collection methods: an examination of issues and a comparison of results, Australasian journal of market research, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 3-9.
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New communications technologies often allow new ways of conducting market research. Determining the advantages of a new data collection method over established alternatives is difficult without thorough comparative testing. Computer-mediated marketing research is one such example of a new technology that has been enthusiastically embraced by marketing organisations and those servicing them. While researchers using the Internet (Net) and World Wide Web (Web) in its early years reported benefits such as high response levels, there is little in the way of comparative evidence to support any claimed advantages. This paper reports on the outcomes of three separate studies in which members (subscribers) of various organisations have been surveyed using both postal and online (email invitation and HTML Web form) data collection methods. The conclusion here is that it would be unwise to assume that one method can be directly substituted for another and obtain the same response. Differences in both the response pattern and demographic profile of respondents between the groups are consistently noticed, such as to warrant further examination of the methods used in online marketing research, and to suggest the need for further study.
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