Methods & Meanings

Using Electronic Surveys in Nursing Research

Diane G. Cope

web-based surveys, email surveys, nursing research
ONF 2014, 41(6), 681-682. DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.681-682

Computer and Internet use in businesses and homes in the United States has dramatically increased since the early 1980s. In 2011, 76% of households reported having a computer, compared with only 8% in 1984 (File, 2013). A similar increase in Internet use has also been seen, with 72% of households reporting access of the Internet in 2011 compared with 18% in 1997 (File, 2013). This emerging trend in technology has prompted use of electronic surveys in the research community as an alternative to previous telephone and postal surveys. Electronic surveys can offer an efficient, cost-effective method for data collection; however, challenges exist. An awareness of the issues and strategies to optimize data collection using web-based surveys is critical when designing research studies. This column will discuss the different types and advantages and disadvantages of using electronic surveys in nursing research, as well as methods to optimize the quality and quantity of survey responses.

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