For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
(H. L. Mencken)
AUGUST 10, 2001
Two new scholarly articles on electronic surveys
In its July 2001 issue, the Organizational Research Methods
quarterly has published two interesting scholarly articles on the use of Internet data collection in organizational surveys. We have reproduced the summaries below; these articles will be part of the literature review we will soon publish on Internet surveys.
- "Using Internet/Intranet Web Pages to Collect Organizational Research Data" by Jeffrey M. Stanton and Steven G. Rogelberg, Organizational Research Methods, vol. 4, no. 3, July 2001, pp. 200-217
Wide availability of networked personal computers within organizations has enabled new methods for organizational research involving presentation of research stimuli using Web pages and browsers. The authors provide an overview of the technological challenges for collecting organizational data through this medium as a springboard to discuss the validity of such research and its ethical implications. A review of research comparing Web browser-based research with other administration modalities appears to warrant guarded optimism about the validity of these new methods. The complexity of the technology and researchers' relative unfamiliarity with it have created a number of pitfalls that must be avoided to ensure ethical treatment of research participants. The authors highlight the need for an online research participants' bill of rights and other structures to ensure successful and appropriate use of this promising new research medium.
- "A Primer on Internet Organizational Surveys" by Zeki Simsek and John F. Veiga, Organizational Research Methods, vol. 4, no. 3, July 2001, pp. 218-235
With so many individuals linked to the Internet and so many possible ways to reach them, the debate for organizational scholars is no longer over whether Internet self-administered surveys are possible but rather over the comparative understanding of the relative advantages and disadvantages of these surveys. Because relevant research has generally been fragmented and narrow in scope, making comparisons difficult, the authors review and assess the research on Internet self-administered survey modalities of electronic mail and the World Wide Web. Then, they provide recommendations that address problematic and controversial aspects of these modalities, including ways to increase the representativeness of samples, construct sampling frames, increase response rates, and manage anonymity and confidentiality.
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