Acentric uses it's own online panel, and where necessary, partner panels and publishers to recruit survey respondents.
Online survey panels are pre-recruited, profiled and incentivized members of the public who have agreed to participate in surveys. Panels are managed using specialized panel management software that keeps track of registrations, points/incentives, profile data, queries and survey management. When a survey is launched, a standard email invitation is sent to the relevant subset of the panel. The length of the interview and incentive amount are usually stated in the invite. The survey invites avoid mentioning the survey topic in the subject line or email invitation body, in order to reduce bias due to differing levels of interest in the topic. Since panelists have joined voluntarily and understand the process in advance, it eliminates the need for long survey introductions.
Advantages of using online-panels over telephonic and face-to-face interviews
- Data quality is superior since interviewer error is eliminated. The marketing research industry places heavy reliance on freelance interviewers and surpervisors, and a substantial component of quality control is left to these networks.
- Using an online-consumer panel for your survey is more cost effective.
- Response rates are generally higher than telephonic - which is usually not incentivized, which means less non-response bias.
- It is more engaging for respondents, who have become used to sharing information via the internet rather than face-to-face.
- Social-desirability bias may also be reduced, which is useful when dealing with sensitive topics such as voter preference.
- Online is often faster than traditional modes (depending on incidence and questionnaire length).
- Incentives are commonplace in the world of online panels, while respondents generally go unrewarded with traditional methods.
- Allows images and videos to be shown to respondents.
Where online is at a disadvantage, or is at least no better than traditional methods
- Coverage bias due to the fact that not all individuals / households have internet or mobile access.
- Probability samples are usually not possible.
- Issue of professional respondents who take too many surveys and/or lie to access surveys.
- Limited pool of available panelists means that low incidence surveys are problematic.
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