Limitations of Questionnaires and Web Experiments

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Web-based experiments and questionnaires are vital methods for analyzing epidemiology and provide important information about public health and diseases. They are the most commonly used methods of collecting data that are generally less costly and time-consuming than face-to-face meetings, mailed questionnaires, or automated phone menu systems. Questionnaires and Web experiments aren’t without limitations, and these must be addressed in order to obtain valid and reliable results.

A questionnaire could be influenced by response bias, the tendency of respondents to answer questions based on their opinions rather than the research goals. Moreover, questionnaire design can influence responses in various ways. For example the wording of the question can affect whether respondents are able to comprehend and interpret the questions in the same way (reliable), measure the subject matter you’re interested in (valid) or are able to answer accurately (credible).

A lack of engagement with the questions can make respondents less likely to give honest answers. In addition, the absence of incentive or compensation may make it difficult for respondents to take the time to fill out an application.

Online questionnaires can also be challenging for certain experiment designs such as studies of reaction time or positioning. The varying settings of browsers screens, sizes, and operating systems makes it difficult to measure and control the same variables across different participants.

Furthermore, Web-based surveys are only available to people who are keyboard and Internet literate, which currently excludes a significant percentage of the population. Additionally, it is often hard for Web researchers to inform participants after an experiment’s window closes.

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