Title: Write it or click on it? Paper vs. online questionnaires for organisational research

Authors: Ambika Zutshi; Melissa A. Parris; Andrew Creed

Addresses: Faculty of Business and Law, School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia ' Faculty of Business and Law, School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia ' Faculty of Business and Law, School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, P.O. Box 423, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia

Abstract: In the last few decades, researchers have made the shift from using traditional paper-based survey questionnaires to develop online surveys to be more contemporary and digitally inclusive. The historical use of paper-based questionnaires has produced a large body of literature on both the advantages and disadvantages, which are reviewed in this paper alongside those of online survey questionnaires. We posit that the traditional methods of increasing survey response rates in paper format should not be blindly ignored in the quest to utilise online methodology. Rather, our view is that researchers could exploit the true benefits of online technologies and increase response rate by thoughtfully combining traditional and new methods. We recommend that further discussion and research are required in order to identify the benefits and weaknesses of using electronic methods of data collection. This will ensure that potential short-term cost savings are not outweighed by either financial or participation costs as part of online survey questionnaire design.

Keywords: mail surveys; postal surveys; online surveys; response rates; non-monetary incentives; monetary incentives; prior notification; data collection; internet; world wide web; online questionnaires; organisational research; researchers; paper-based surveys; paper formats; online methodologies; print formats; online technologies; traditional methods; new methods; financial costs; participation costs; questionnaire design; electronic surveys; e-surveys; business innovation; R&D; research and development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2011.043204

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2011 Vol.5 No.6, pp.663 - 684

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 20 Oct 2011 *

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