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Usability Issues Associated with Converting Establishment Surveys to Web‐Based Data Collection

Jean E. Fox, William Mockovak, Sylvia K. Fisher, and Christine Rho


In an effort to combat non-response, survey managers continually seek new ways to encourage respondents to participate in their surveys. One approach is to offer respondents the option of selecting from multiple reporting modes so that they can select the mode they prefer. The Internet is one of the newest modes available and offers a variety of benefits. For example, respondents can access the Internet easily from their desktop PCs, so they can complete the survey at their convenience. Properly designed surveys can introduce instructions, edits, and help screens that simplify the respondents' task by guiding them through the completion process. From a survey manager's point of view, the Internet eliminates or reduces data entry costs, because respondents enter data themselves. Further, Web surveys can check data as the respondent works, so the need for follow-up phone calls or post-data collection processes is minimized. With these obvious benefits, the Internet offers the potential for enhancing response rates, improving data quality, and improving timeliness of reporting. In addition, the potential for cost savings also exists, although in some cases offering an additional data collection mode might actually increase costs.