Limitations of Questionnaires and Web Experiments

Questionnaires and web experiments are essential to the study of epidemiology that provide crucial information on the condition of public health and diseases. They are a typical method to collect data that is typically less expensive and time-consuming than face-to-face interviews, mailed paper questionnaires or automated telephone menu systems. However questionnaires and Web experiments are not without limitations that must be addressed to ensure that they are reliable and valid results.

A questionnaire may be affected by response bias. This is the tendency of respondents to answer questions based on their personal opinions rather than the research objectives. The structure of a questionnaire can influence responses in a variety of ways. For example, the wording of the question can affect how respondents respond to the question and interpret it in the same manner (reliable) as well as whether the question reflects the subject you are interested in (valid) and whether they can accurately answer (credible).

Respondents might also experience survey fatigue or lack of engagement with the questions which reduces the chances of them providing honest responses. Lack of incentives or compensation can also discourage participants from filling out a questionnaire.

Online questionnaires can also pose difficult for certain research designs, like studies of reaction time or positioning. The variability in browser settings as well as screen sizes and operating systems makes it difficult to control and measure the same variables for different people.

Finaly, Web-based surveys can only be accessed by those who have keyboards and Internet knowledgeable. This excludes a significant segment of the population. It’s also difficult for Web researchers to provide participants with a report after the window for their experiment has ended.