The incorporation of electronic survey formats is beneficial as it allows the researcher to access a large range of people. People can easily access these surveys from their homes. These surveys are often convenient for individuals, as their participation in the research study is limited. From this standpoint, the incorporation of electronic surveys allows the researcher to gain access to a broad population that may otherwise not choose to participate in research.
Although there are many noteworthy benefits to using an electronic survey, there are also some limitations. The first limitation is the inability to determine if the individual is being honest in their answers. Participants may become dishonest about questions that would otherwise be evident if the survey was taking place in person. For example, there is no way for the researcher to determine if the participant is being honest about their gender or age group, two factors that would otherwise be evident in a research study. This is problematic as there is no way for the research to determine the validity of information provided by participants.
Another problematic feature of electronic survey formats is the inability to determine how the participants are affected by each question. Research is heavily influenced by ethical guidelines. It is crucial that researchers follow these guidelines in order to ensure the participant’s well being. However, there is no way to determine how answering a specific question makes an individual feel.
The final limitation of electronic surveys is the lack of reliability. As previously discussed there is no way to verify that participants are giving honest answers. Therefore, the research has no way of knowing if these results can be replicated. In order to verify the reliability of the results, the researcher may choose to run another electronic survey; however, this process may be time consuming.
- The Practice of Criminology & Criminal Justice 5th ed. New York: Pearsons.