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While surveys vary widely in how they are conducted and used, there are a number of components that are common across nearly all surveys. Many of these common features have been studied in extensive detail by survey methodologists, psychologists, statisticians, and many other fields of research. The general process of survey research is outlined in the figure below.
One Poll is a company that was founded in the United Kingdom, but it’s also open to consumers in the United States and beyond. It claims to be recognized by Money Saving Expert, one of the largest consumer websites in that country, which is a reassuring recommendation. What I recognized about it is that the surveys are short and easy to complete, so ideal if you’ve had a hard day and don’t want to do anything too taxing. New surveys are added on a daily basis, and some are amusingly quirky.
Paid survey site companies invest billions of dollars into marketing research online. They always want to find out more intricate details of a consumer's relationship with their product. Whether it's a new television show or just an existing product line, companies like Disney, Samsung, and Sony go to great lengths to find out their ideal audiences.
Opinion Outpost. Some survey sites bombard users with information and opportunities — but not Opinion Outpost. Its simple, intuitive website enabled us to take survey after survey without much thought. As beginners, we also appreciated the site’s straightforward points system, which works out to 10 cents per point. Most importantly, we actually made some money. We averaged $1.50 per hour on Opinion Outpost and were able to cash it out on Amazon. See our Opinion Outpost review for more information.
The only problem with rewarding consumers for taking online surveys is that it gives them the incentive to cheat. The more surveys you fill out, the more points you get. So people get creative: They randomly answer survey questions as quickly as possible, establish multiple e-mail addresses to answer the same survey five or six times, or lie about their demographic (a white male says he's a black female, for example) to participate in surveys for which they otherwise wouldn't qualify [source: Frost & Sullivan].
Summary: A real favourite, MySurvey is a popular panel allowing members to participate in market research surveys for money, covering topics like the media, tourism and products like electronics. It’s easy to set up an account on the site and begin earning points, which vary between 10 and 500 per survey, but are typically around the 100 mark for an average survey which would take 15 minutes to fill out.
Define the research question: This is critically important to the success of a survey research project. Without a clearly defined question, it is difficult to determine the best approach for conducting the survey. For example, based on the research question, are the needed data exploratory, descriptive, or causal? The answer to this basic question has huge implications for the entire research process, yet it is often not directly addressed.