Once students obtain IRB approval, they are given the green light to proceed with data collection. If you are conducting survey research using an online platform such as Survey Monkey or Qualtrics, there are several things you can do when setting up your survey to make the data collection and analysis process much smoother. Below are a few tips that can help save you time and frustration down the road.
Mandatory responses: In all major online survey platforms, researchers can select to have some (or all) survey questions require a response. With this setting turned on, if participants do not respond to a required item, then they will not be permitted to proceed with the next set of questions until they provide an answer. Using mandatory responses will remove the problem of dealing with partial or incomplete responses. Having an entire sample with full responses will lead to a smoother results chapter due to not having to remove any cases or replace missing values.
Review the level of measurement for all variables: During the methodology phase, researchers must operationally define the variables of interest in the research questions. Ensure that the level of measurement in the survey is consistent with the operational definition. For instance, if you operationally defined age as a continuous variable, then use a fill-in-the-blank response in the design of the survey instead of a multiple choice item. Your online survey platform will also likely have validation options for fill-in-the-blank questions that can help ensure you collect clean data. For instance, you can restrict the fill-in-the-blank responses to be only whole numbers between 18 and 100 if you are trying to measure participants’ ages in years.
Multiple responses from one computer: If researchers are dealing with students or participants who will predominantly be taking the survey in one location, Survey Monkey and Qualtrics allow for multiple responses to be collected from one computer. Make sure to toggle this option on to eliminate the risk of losing several participants’ responses.
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