The growth of the Internet and other digital media has opened up exciting opportunities for the provision of public services, for business and for personal transactions. Comparisons between the earliest forms of “online” research, in the form of telephone interviewing, and offline data collection via face‐to‐face interviews or self‐completion questionnaires, revealed that the modality within which research was conducted could affect research findings. In examining the evidence, this paper indicates that the use of online methodologies has important implications for sampling, response rates, quality of data produced, and operational practices in research projects. Online research is restricted to individuals with access to relevant technologies (e.g. the Internet) and where online technology penetration is limited, survey samples are unlikely to represent the general population. Online surveys, however, can produce quicker response rates than offline surveys and also richer open‐ended responses. The important point is to recognise the strengths and weaknesses are associated with different methodologies and what differences can exist between online and offline data collection procedures.
Gunter, B., Nicholas, D., Huntington, P. and Williams, P. (2002), "Online versus offline research: implications for evaluating digital media", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 54 No. 4, pp. 229-239. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012530210443339Download as .RIS
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