Internet Research Advantages And Potential Errors

Internet is a fast and ever growing medium with great consequences for social and economic life. The strategic business implications of the internet for any business are far reaching. With the ever increasing internet usage it is becoming the preferred platform for conducting consumer research. The Internet has also brought forth new research capabilities to help businesses adapt to and exploit the technological changes now underway. Secure internet-based research system with integrated software and systems is the future of marketing research. The Internet is increasingly becoming a worldwide data collection vehicle for many types of marketing research, including business-to-business as well as consumer research.

High quality of research data is the primary reason for considering conducting internet research. It is faster, cheaper to conduct and when combined with other modes it can yield higher response rates. Main advantages of internet research are:
Attention span time of respondent: Respondents can choose the take the survey at their most convenient time which eventually improves the scope for best results because respondents are able to give their full attention, taking as much time as they deem necessary to provide well-thought-out complete answers.
Accuracy: Respondents have the option of taking as much time as they need to think about the answer. When respondents see and read Internet questionnaires for themselves, they make their own interpretations, without the influence of a third party.

Control: The logic and flow of the research can be precisely controlled.
Diverse medium: Since pictures, sounds, and video can be integrated into the questionnaire, it can be an ideal medium of research for new product concepts.
Detailed surveys: Internet surveys can be longer and more detailed than any other medium.

High Standards: Internet research conforms to the same high standard demands like any other data collection methodologiesprobability sampling, project control, and advanced questionnaire programming etc.
Cost and Timing: Internet surveys are not only faster and less costly than other surveys but also provide higher quality data.

However, many who are new to internet marketing research are not fully aware of the intricacies of this medium. It looks fast, cheap, and simple. While these companies might never attempt to conduct a telephone survey themselves, because of its simplicity, many are confident they can easily and cheaply conduct research over the internet. But just because something looks easy doesnt mean its so. It requires the technical expertise to reliably conduct such surveys with consistent quality.

Many of these new research firms, however lack formally trained, experienced research professionals, nor do they have the systems in place to ensure proper sampling and data collection. Other potential sources of error in internet surveys include:
Lack of rigorous sampling systems and methods
Lack of random selection of research participants which is due to good lists of people with internet addresses
No callback procedures in internet research
Possiblity of biased response since some demographic groups is more likely to respond to internet surveys than other groups.
Questionnaire programming errors

Poorly conducted Internet research might hamper credibility of all marketing research. It is important that the research industry make sure that clients understand mechanics of internet research and the risk involved in the results, so that clients can make intelligent decisions about the use of internet surveys. Given the challenges it is recommended to use internet with combination with research modes.

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