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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Publication details for Prof Helen L. Ball

Ball, Helen L. (2019). About Research: Conducting Online Surveys. Journal of Human Lactation 35(3): 413-417.

Author(s) from Durham


There is an established methodology for conducting survey research that aims to ensure rigorous research and robust outputs. With the advent of easy-to-use online survey platforms, however, the quality of survey studies has declined. This article summarizes the pros and cons of online surveys and emphasizes the key principles of survey research, for example questionnaire validation and sample selection. Numerous texts are available to guide researchers in conducting robust survey research online, however this is neither a quick nor easy undertaking. While online survey websites and software are useful for assisting in questionnaire design and delivery, they can also introduce sources of bias. Researchers considering conducting online surveys are encouraged to read carefully about how the principles of survey research can be applied to online formats in order to reduce bias and enhance rigor. In addition to alerting researchers to the pitfalls of online surveys this article also aims to equip readers of this journal with the knowledge of how to critically appraise publications based on online surveys.