Research World (February 2006)
Market research has also been transformed and has accelerated, especially online. As a medium for collecting data, the Internet undeniably offers a number of advantages -in addition to speed, it also helps to bridge distances bringing proximity. Although its representativeness might still lag behind telephone or face-to-face studies, it provides additional advantages. Insiders say, for example, that the use of online multimedia enables advanced research techniques. The quality of open answers will be better with online research than with other methods of questioning. And last but not least: online research is cheaper. Five years ago it was assumed that the Internet would lead to research becoming faster, cheaper and better. Better? Is this in fact what has actually happened? More specifically, how is the medium handled in practice? How is online research applied and used? It is evident that the variety of access panels has stimulated a lot of debate. Some critics say that panel management is often inadequate, with insufficient attention being paid to tracking who is being questioned about what and when. They claim that some respondents are questioned too frequently, with the result that different surveys can influence each other. Others say that paying people to participate has led to the creation of the professional respondent. We take the time here to give some critical consideration to online research. That this form of data collection has many intrinsic possibilities is without doubt. But in our haste to acquire the instant answer, are we paying enough attention to how we use the Internet in our hurried modern lives with so much pressure on time? Which issues deserve more attention in the future so that we can retain self determination in managing the dynamics of research- instead of being the victim? The discussion has been opened!
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