Online Surveys

Laptop computer being used The penetration and use of the Internet and all forms of electronic networking means that an ever increasing percentage of the population can be consulted via online surveys. The Government’s commitment to encouraging use of the World Wide Web for consultation was first outlined in 2003 as part of the Best Value programme, and was re-enforced by the Beecham Report in 2006.

In July 2010, the Manifesto for a Networked Nation was launched by the UK’s Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox. This aims to extend ‘the benefits of the web’ by targeting the estimated 10 million Britons who have never been online and advising how public services can help to provide better and more efficient online services. Some 400 leaders of industry, government and the charitable sector have become partners in a web-based access and training programme, Race Online 2012, and have pledged to help more than one and a half million people to get online by the end of 2012.

We at ORS are keenly aware of our own role in advising and helping our Clients to meet the Government’s targets by raising awareness and providing easy access to online forms of consultation. Interactive online surveys have a number of advantages. They can be much more cost effective than paper surveys; are potentially accessible to anyone with access to the internet and are in line with government targets as embodied in a Networked Nation.

It is important to be aware, however that in spite of manifesto pledges, a significant proportion of people will have no access to the internet for some time into the future and particularly those defined as the most disadvantaged, including the unemployed and the elderly. To include people unable to access the web, alternative methods should also be considered to complement an online approach.

Delivering Online Web Surveys

ORS has extensive experience of online surveying using either bespoke in-house designed surveys or professionally hosted web surveys. Surveys can be private by invitation, or public and anonymous. Private surveys require the respondent to access the survey via a unique link or PIN. This allows their responses to be tracked and ensures one completion per person. Public surveys, on the other hand, are open access and anonymous.

As with telephone surveys, online forms can have routing and validation applied, but have a significant advantage over telephone surveys in allowing the display of stimulus or background information in the form of pictures, documents, audio and video files.

More and more employees use web technology as part of their day to day activities. For this reason ORS can provide cost effective solutions to delivering employee surveys – either totally online or by offering mixed mode postal and online surveys.

Mixed Mode Surveys

Using a suite of industry-leading products based on common core technologies, ORS is able to simply and cost-effectively conduct mixed mode interviewing. Online surveys can be run alongside telephone or postal surveys to ensure the widest possible coverage.

The same survey can be deployed as both CATI and Web with respondents choosing the most convenient method for them from an initial email contact. If respondents do not complete online, interviewers can attempt to interview them by phone with the data being stored in a single integrated dataset.