Is an online survey a better survey method?

First, there is nothing like the “Best survey”. Each survey has its own limitations and target groups. When it comes to an online survey, it not only features the advantages of the internet, but it is a reflection of it. One thing that we can all agree on is that an online survey is very economical in the long run. There will be no transport costs, printing paper, mailing and phone costs, and finally the wages of numerous assistants to get the job done. The economics of the online survey looks good to small organizations and businesses which have a small budget to part with. Technological limitation On the other hand, an online survey has a technological limitation. Not all people, especially in rural areas have access to the internet or even power. This feature means that fewer people from these areas will take part in the online survey. You will not be able to get a proper result from these areas. Email lists and website logs alone are not sufficient to analyze the representative population. If you want your survey to produce valid and honest responses, you need to have a good sample of the overall population. One might argue that people in rural areas don’t have access to computers but they have phones. I agree, but the phones have other limitations. The screen is less than an A4 paper, it means that the respondents will have many pages to fill with the questionnaire. This problem is not limited to online survey alone. In other survey methods it’s hard for the researcher to have a 15 minutes face to face talk with a respondent without paying him/her for their time. It is even harder to call someone and explain to him what the phone survey is all about. Most respondents receive a mail and they trash it even before reading it. Which is better? The best survey method depends on two factors. One is the aim of the survey. Maybe a business is launching a new product, and they wish to get customer responses. The second factor is the population segment. Which part of the population do you wish to collect responses? If you are doing an online political survey, you have to involve the whole population to get good sample data of the whole population. If it is a business survey, then you need to target a small segment of the whole population. Yes, the online survey looks good, considering the number of people who have access to the internet. But it needs to be supplemented with other forms of the survey in areas that lack internet connectivity. Their views also matter.