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Using E‐Mail/World Wide Web For Establishment Survey Data Collection

Richard L. Clayton and George S. Werking, Jr.


Electronic mail (E-mail) is increasingly available within businesses and may be exploited for survey data collection where connection to the Internet/World Wide Web exists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has conducted a preliminary assessment of the ability and willingness CES respondents to use E-mail and developed a prototype collection instrument as the first steps in launching a feasibility test of E-mail collection in the monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey. Under the envisioned E-mail collection, respondents receive electronic mail, enter their data which immediately resides on the survey agency's computer. This paper provides results from this customer attitudes review, including their willingness to use E-mail. It also reviews current Internet/WWW features relevant to data collection. Also, we profile the strengths and weaknesses of the E-mail/Internet against other automated collection methods in terms of quality, timeliness and costs, and discuss issues relating to its future use for surveys including confidentiality. For the purposes of this paper, references to E-mail include using Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) for communicating with respondents.