Appendix E
Supplemental Information to Chapter 6

COMPANIES OFFERING ONLINE SURVEYS AND/ OR POLLING SERVICES1

In general, each package will have the following features, to some level of ease:

  • installation and integration of software into a system

  • supporting documentation, such as online help, tutorial, or a guide on how to make a survey

  • the ability to add, edit, and manage templates provided

  • options for building single- and multiple-page forms and branching to other questions within or between pages

  • ability to scan e-mail or data files as the results come in

  • file management features such as importing and exporting data, data cleaning, and record keeping

  • the ability to post surveys on the Web and provide support to a server

  • data analysis tools and types of analysis available

  • options to chart and present data

  • overall ease of using the product and its user interface

THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS

Today, anyone with a cyber address is inundated with unsolicited messages and unnecessary communications, often originating from within their own organizations. The exponential growth of junk e-mail in

TABLE E-1 Companies Offering On-line Surveys or Polling Services.

EZSurvey 2000 www.raosoft.com

SurveySolutions for the Web 3.0 www.perseus.com

SurveyCrafter Professional 2.7 (previously MarketSight 2.5) www.surveycrafter.com

WebSurveyor www.websurveyor.com

Survey Select 2.1 and Survey Select Expert 4.0 www.surveyselect.com

Zoomerang www.zoomerang.com

recent years is a phenomenon termed “spam” (noxious, unwanted e-mails). Using current communications technology, a single cyber-marketing company can send half a billion personalized ad mails via the web every day. It is estimated that it costs Internet users worldwide $US 9-billion ($CDN 14-billion) annually to receive junk e-mails (Hargreaves, 2001). In this environment, people may not bother to open unsolicited e-mail or to agree that a survey be sent to them.

The low response rate for online surveys might also reflect a general mistrust of electronic communication. For example, unbeknownst to users, their consumer information may be gleaned while they visit Web sites. Then this information can be sold for large sums of money and so it escalates. Having been damaged by tempting messages, such as the “I love you” virus, computer users may now be more cautious of electronic invitations, limiting their willingness to participate in online surveys. This would apply to wide-cast cyber-

1  

See King (2000) for reviews of the software.



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Appendix E Supplemental Information to Chapter 6 COMPANIES OFFERING ONLINE SURVEYS AND/ TABLE E-1 Companies Offering On-line Surveys or OR POLLING SERVICES1 Polling Services. In general, each package will have the following fea- EZSurvey 2000 SurveySolutions for www.raosoft.com the Web 3.0 tures, to some level of ease: www.perseus.com • installation and integration of software into a system SurveyCrafter Professional 2.7 WebSurveyor • supporting documentation, such as online help, (previously MarketSight 2.5) www.websurveyor.com tutorial, or a guide on how to make a survey www.surveycrafter.com • the ability to add, edit, and manage templates Survey Select 2.1 and Zoomerang provided Survey Select Expert 4.0 www.zoomerang.com • options for building single- and multiple-page www.surveyselect.com forms and branching to other questions within or between pages • ability to scan e-mail or data files as the results come in recent years is a phenomenon termed “spam” (noxious, • file management features such as importing and unwanted e-mails). Using current communications exporting data, data cleaning, and record keeping technology, a single cyber-marketing company can • the ability to post surveys on the Web and pro- send half a billion personalized ad mails via the web vide support to a server every day. It is estimated that it costs Internet users • data analysis tools and types of analysis available worldwide $US 9-billion ($CDN 14-billion) annually • options to chart and present data to receive junk e-mails (Hargreaves, 2001). In this envi- • overall ease of using the product and its user in- ronment, people may not bother to open unsolicited terface e-mail or to agree that a survey be sent to them. The low response rate for online surveys might also THE CHANGING CONTEXT OF reflect a general mistrust of electronic communication. ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS For example, unbeknownst to users, their consumer information may be gleaned while they visit Web sites. Today, anyone with a cyber address is inundated Then this information can be sold for large sums of with unsolicited messages and unnecessary communi- money and so it escalates. Having been damaged by cations, often originating from within their own orga- tempting messages, such as the “I love you” virus, com- nizations. The exponential growth of junk e-mail in puter users may now be more cautious of electronic invitations, limiting their willingness to participate in online surveys. This would apply to wide-cast cyber- 1See King (2000) for reviews of the software. 116

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117 APPENDIX E surveys, and less so to e-surveys sent through an TABLE E-2 Top Ten Countries with Internet Users - organization’s proprietary network/intranet. Number and Percentage of Users. There are Web users who pay for their time online. Population Internet Users % of Population That could deter some from spending valuable minutes Country (in million) (in million) on Internet to fill out a survey. Eliminating these potential respon- dents both lowers the response rate and might also add Australia 19 7.4 38.9% a bias based on income. United States 276 91.0 33.0% On the other hand, the cost to connect is steadily com- Canada 31 9.7 31.3% Japan 127 29.0 22.8% ing down and there are increasing opportunities for the Germany 83 18.9 22.8% general public to access the Internet. Businesses such as United Kingdom 60 18.8 31.3% easyEverything , Kinko’s South Korea 46 14.0 30.4% , and Get2net France 59 10.7 18.1% are filling storefronts in city centers. At easyEverything Italy 58 6.6 11.4% in Manhattan there are 800 terminals with Internet China 1,300 10.0 0.8% access and one dollar ($US1) buys two hours of con- Source: Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 2001. nectivity. According to Pike (2001), there is an inter- esting cast of characters accessing the net at 11PM on Saturday night at the Times Square location. Kinko’s offers a fast connection to surf the Internet and use Microsoft’s complete Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for thirty cents a minute. Get2net has free vation (Markus, 1990). It took 38 years for radio to Internet kiosks at select locations, however keyboards reach this level of adoption. Television took 13 years are awkward, access slow, and there’s lots of advertising. and cable television reached a critical mass in 10 years. Depending on the various estimates on the number of DETAILS OF WHO IS ONLINE AND WHERE THEY Internet users, the medium has already reached critical ARE GEOGRAPHICALLY mass or will certainly be there by 2002, just 8 years after its emergence as a consumer medium (Neufeld, The number of people accessing the Internet contin- 1997). ues to increase at a phenomenal rate. In 1995 The Although a large number of people access the Web, Internet Society estimated that between 20 to 40 mil- in 1998 they accounted for less than one third of the lion people around the world had access to the Internet. overall USA population (Kaye and Johnson, 1999). Nua Internet Surveys (Nua, 2001) estimated that num- Estimates vary, and as much as half the USA popula- ber to have grown to 201 million worldwide in 1999, tion may be connected. The fast take-up of this medium and up to 407 million by 2000. See Table E-2. is rapidly changing the profile of who’s online, making Early Internet users (circa 1995) tended to be young, less relevant some of the lessons-learned and sampling white males with high socioeconomic status. Recent issues from earlier work. The trends suggest that the studies suggest that as more people use the Internet and number of users will continue to grow, will better World Wide Web, there is a demographic shift and that reflect the overall population, and that upwards of 80% Internet users are beginning to represent more of the of Internet users will access the system daily. Such a general population. More households have Internet user base would provide a reliable population from connections. The US Department of Commerce (1999) which to sample and generalize findings. reported that the number of households connected to the Internet increased from 18.6% in 1997, to 26.2% in REFERENCES 1998. The take-up of electronic communications is faster Hargreaves, D. 2001. Junk e-mail costs online surfers $14-billion a year: than any other “disruptive technology” of the 20th cen- EU report. Financial Post. February 3. p. D9. tury—namely electricity, the telephone, and the car. In Kaye, B. and T. Johnson. 1999. Research Methodology: Taming the Cyber Frontier. Social Science Computer Review. Volume 17, No 3, pp. general, a medium is considered a “mass medium” 323-337. when a critical mass of people (about 16% of the popu- King, N. 2000. What are they thinking? PC Magazine. February 8, pp. lation, or 50 million for the USA) has adopted the inno- 163-178.

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118 LEARNING FROM OUR BUILDINGS Markus, L. 1990. Toward a “critical mass” theory of interactive media. In Nua Internet Surveys. 2001. http://www.nua.ie/surveys/how_many_online Fulk, J. and C. Steinfield (eds.) Organizations and communication tech- US Department of Commerce. 1999. Falling through the net: defining the nology. pp. 194-218. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. digital divide. National Telecommunications and Information Adminis- Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. 2001. In Infoworld. March 12, p. 16. tration. 27 pages. Neufeld, E. 1997. Where are the audiences going? MediaWeek. May 5, pp. S22-S29.