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Designing Effective Web Surveys


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Table of Contents

1. The importance of design for web surveys; 2. The basic building blocks; 3. Going beyond the basics: visual and interactive enhancements to web survey instruments; 4. General layout and design; 5. Putting the questions together to make an instrument; 6. Implementing the design.

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Designing Effective Web Surveys is a practical guide to designing Web surveys, based on empirical evidence and grounded in scientific research and theory.

About the Author

Mick Couper holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Rhodes University, an M.A. in applied social research from the University of Michigan, and an M.Soc.Sc. from the University of Cape Town. He has more than twenty years of experience in the design, implementation, and analysis of survey research on a variety of topics and using many different methods. He has consulted for numerous organizations, both private and public, on all aspects of survey design and data collection. His current research focuses on survey nonresponse, self-administered surveys, and the application of technology to the survey data collection process (including CATI, CAPI, audio-CASI, IVR, and Web surveys). He is co-author of Nonresponse in Household Interview Surveys, chief editor of Computer Assisted Survey Information Collection, co-editor of Methods for Testing and Evaluating Survey Questionnaires, and co-author of Survey Methodology. He has published extensively in a variety of journals. He is a leading international expert on the design and implementation of Internet surveys and regularly teaches short courses, consults, and presents findings of research on Web survey design.


"This is the right book at the right time. Increasing concerns about the quality of the data being collected online are pushing researchers to focus more on design, and to create more engaging and more usable online questionnaires. In an area where there is no shortage of opinion about what works and what doesn't work, Mick Couper gives us practical advice based in science and data. His grasp of the subject matter and his command of the relevant methodological literature has produced a book that stands alone."-Reg Baker, Market Strategies International "What a treat! No one has been more passionate about the design of web questionnaires than Mick Couper, and this book is a tour de force - a broad, deep, thorough, and insightful array of data-based advice on optimizing web surveys. Many of the most important surveys in the future will be done via the Internet, and Mick's guidance about how to collect the most accurate data possible will no doubt guide the next generation of researchers carrying out this work."-Jon A. Krosnick, Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Stanford University "Mick Couper was present at the creation of the brave new world of Web surveys and no one knows the field better. His new book is an invaluable compendium of careful research and practical wisdom gained from over a decade of experience. Couper shows how design decisions affect both the respondent experience and the quality of data collected. Unfortunately, there are lots of bad Web surveys. Anybody who wants to conduct a good one should read this book."-Douglas Rivers, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Cofounder of Knowledge Networks and Polimetrix "Mick Couper has written the book that Web survey researchers have been waiting for. Designing Effective Web Surveys is a well-written, comprehensive overview of Web survey procedures. Using a minimum of technical jargon, Mick provides the information needed to conduct high-quality Web surveys. Every researcher involved in web surveys should read it."-John Kennedy, Center for Survey Research, Indiana University "This book provides a comprehensive and practical guide to designing web surveys which is long overdue. Couper's recommendations are grounded in theory and supported by empirical evidence. His use of full-color examples culled from a wide variety of genres effectively illustrates his recommendations and serves to underscore his point that while the web is a powerful tool for survey researchers, the design of a web survey must be approached with care. His book is certain to be an extremely useful addition to both the teaching and practice of survey research."-Rachel A. Caspar, RTI International

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