Sometimes, individuals and businesses send out surveys and questionnaires that are designed to be completed without any interference from the researcher. In other words, the researcher doesn't need to be there when the respondents are filling these questionnaires. These types of surveys are known as self-administered surveys or stand-alone questionnaires.
When designing a self-administered survey, you should take extra care and ensure that the questions are easy to understand, and the survey has a decent layout. In this article, we will look at some of the most common types of stand-alone questionnaires.
A self-administered survey is a data-collection process where the researcher is entirely absent when respondents are filling out the survey, hence the term—self-administered. In other words, the researcher sends out the survey to respondents with instructions on how they can fill it about, and waits for their responses.
Most of the questions in a self-administered survey are open-ended questions that require the respondents to fully communicate their thoughts with little or no restrictions. One of the most common types of self-administered surveys are mail-in questionnaires. Online questionnaires sent out to respondents via email invitations is another example of a self-administered survey.
Apart from paper and online forms, self-administered surveys also come in the form of oral tests. In this case, the researcher gathers all the participants in a single location, gives them relevant instructions, and then leaves them to complete the survey within a specific time of the day.
A mail questionnaire is a quantitative method of data collection where the researcher selects a research sample size and then, sends the questionnaires to each participant via the postal service. The questionnaires are sealed in a postage-paid envelope and contain specific instructions on how they should be completed. After filling the questionnaire, the respondent sends it back to the researcher via mail.
Mail questionnaires are one of the oldest types of self-administered surveys. Till date, many businesses use this method to collect employee feedback and measure customer satisfaction. Mail surveys allow you to target specific audience segments as you have access to the complete name and home address of the members of your target population.
Advantages of Mail Questionnaires
Disadvantages of Mail Surveys
This type of survey works just like mail questionnaires. However, in this case, the researcher drops off the survey physically and then, goes back to pick up the completed form after a few hours. It is designed to be more convenient for the survey participants.
Hand-delivered surveys are also called direct questionnaires because the researcher distributes them directly. They often contain close-ended questions with checkboxes that respondents tick to indicate their answers.
Advantages of Hand-delivered Surveys
Disadvantages of Hand-delivered Surveys
An email survey is a quantitative data collection process that is conducted via email. Email surveys use pure text known as ASCH to represent the questionnaire in the body of the email, and then the survey is posted to a curated list of email addresses.
Email surveys are mostly made up of closed-ended questions. In the end, participants' answers are exported to a prepared spreadsheet and tabulated.
Advantages of Email Surveys
Disadvantages of Email Surveys
An internet interview is a set of questions written in HTML and added to a website. Respondents come across these surveys spontaneously as they interact with the website and they can choose to respond to the questions or not.
There are many data collection tools that you can use to conduct internet interviews for your target audience. Common examples of internet interviews include social media polls and online surveys.
Advantages of Internet Interviews
Disadvantages of Internet Interviews
Inviting people to fill your survey via email is one of Formplus multiple form sharing options for questionnaires and surveys. With email invitations, you can invite respondents to take part in your survey by uploading their email addresses.
Sending out email invitations also allows you to track survey responses and prevent multiple form submissions. You'll know when a submission is pending and when it is completed. Once your survey gets a new response, you can prevent the participant from accessing the survey again.
With our offline form feature, survey participants can take part in your research, even when they are in remote areas with poor or no internet access. All responses submitted in "offline mode" are automatically updated on the Formplus servers when internet access is restored.
Respondents can view, fill and submit your self-administered surveys from their smartphones; without having to pinch out or zoom in on their screens. Formplus forms are mobile-responsive which means you can conveniently interact with surveys and questionnaires on your mobile device.
Conditional logic improves the quality of data submitted in your surveys by allowing you to collect only relevant data. It hides and shows form fields to respondents based on their previous answers so they only have to view and complete fields that are relevant to them.
There are more than 30 form fields in the Formplus builder which means you can collect different types of data in your surveys. From text input fields to e-signatures and even unlimited file uploads, Formplus gives you numerous options to collect data the way you like.
Once you receive a new submission of your survey or questionnaire, you can automatically send out confirmation emails to respondents. As part of the confirmation email, you can include a copy of the completed survey to eliminate any form of miscommunication.
The form analytics dashboard in the Formplus builder displays important analytics and metrics for your data collection process. Here, you can access form metrics like the total number of survey responses, the total number of form views, and the geographical locations from where form submissions were made.
You can also build custom visual reports using the builder's report summary tool. Simply click on the form field or data category to automatically display your data as custom graphs and charts.
The goals and objectives of your research should determine if you can opt for self-administered surveys. If you’re conducting a complex research, the researcher may need to supervise the data-collection process in person. Hence, self-administered surveys may not work.
Self-administered surveys are ideal for situations where there’s an existing relationship between the researcher and the target audience—for example, a fashion store’s customers. In this context, the audience will find it easy to complete the surveys, independent of the researcher.
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