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.
After joining a survey site, you provide some personal and demographic information, which legitimate survey sites will keep private. That information will be used in choosing participants to take surveys on certain goods and services. If you get selected to take part in a survey, you will be notified through mail to take a short survey to see if your profile suits that survey. When you are deemed qualified, you will be requested to take a longer survey.
Rewards are paid out in cash and PayPal, but the catch of having short surveys is reflected in the pay, which can be miniscule per survey. As you need to earn $50 before you can withdraw anything, that’s a lot of low-paying surveys before you’ve made your money! Some people have complained online that once you get close to the withdrawal amount, the surveys dry up. One way around this is to refer a friend as you’ll receive a bonus when they sign up and you’ll hit your target to withdraw your funds. It’s a bit of a downside, but there are hundreds of very happy consumers who love the site, so it’s worth a shot, especially if you get fed up with the boring or repetitive nature of some of the quizzes elsewhere.
About that money: Survey companies typically don’t pay you for each and every survey—you have to meet a payout amount to earn your reward. Page says it took her months to reach the $30 payout on one survey site—time she could have easily spent on more lucrative side hustles. This presents a problem if you need money fast or if you decide to change course and try something else—you might end up answering tons of questions and never actually see that money.
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The number one reason why I liked MySurvey the best out of the 30-something sites I had the privilege or misfortune to try, was no doubt its versatility. This versatility is present not only in the reward system and the referral program – which are important aspects on their own – but clearly shows in their surveys too. Filling out boring surveys always feels like hard work, even though it’s really not if you think about it. With MySurvey, you will see a huge variety of different topics.
While product testing is offered, you’ll only get sent items if you qualify, and then it will only be a couple over the space of several months, so think of this as a bonus, rather than a regular part of your work. Some users get frustrated at the length of time they have to wait for vouchers to arrive after they order them – especially when somewhere like Opinion Outpost will pay out straight away. However it is unfortunately quite standard to have to wait weeks for payment from survey sites. Surveys range in duration from about 15 to 30 minutes and there are mini polls on the website which can help you tot up small amounts of extra points. Points do sometimes take days or even weeks to appear in Toluna accounts, which is worth noting.
The only way to make this work would to be a serious survey junkie who can dedicate hours to the work, which defeats the purpose of a side hustle entirely. What’s worse is the idea that you can’t adequately plan your time—a survey might take twice as long as it says or five times as long. That kind of unpredictability means this isn’t a side hustle you can rely on.
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.
InboxDollars. New users get a $5 bonus after confirming their email address with InboxDollars. But that didn’t make up for how little we earned per hour while taking surveys — 41 cents, the lowest rate among the 12 sites we tested. On occasion, instead of sending us surveys, the site directed us to promotions that required our address, phone number and birthdate. Read our InboxDollars review.
But the most important factor that makes these better options is the fact that these gigs can bring in thousands. Web developers charge an average rate of $75/hour, copywriters make $60/hour, and QA testers make $47/hour. The reality is that if you want to bring in serious money, you might need to consider upskilling a bit—a worthy investment that will pay off massively. While mindless side hustles sound appealing, they often times simply don’t pan out and end up being a mega time waster. Don’t fall for it. Your time is too valuable, and you deserve to be paid well for it.
Scammers use a diverse variety of methods to allure and dupe unsuspecting victims. Some ads and offers look so real that even the most seasoned internet veterans can be tricked. However, many scams target people new to the market who may be more susceptible to “get rich quick” schemes because they're unaware of what you can reasonably make taking surveys. It is incredibly uncommon to be offered more than $10 to complete a 20 minute survey. Not that one offering that or more is definitely a scam, it's just important to be cautious. While some experienced and well credited survey takers receive legitimate offers paying that pay big money, if you're new to survey taking you should definitely steer clear of anyone offering you hundreds to complete a survey.
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.