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.

By only sending you questionnaires you are already qualified for, Pinecone wastes far less of your time than many sites which require you to fill our qualifying questions before starting each survey. However some users have said they don’t receive very many surveys, which could be a consequence of their careful filtering. Equally the site retains the right to remove you from their panel if you no longer fit their desired demographic, so make the most of your membership while you have it!

Renowned for its short and sweet surveys, OnePoll is a great site for dipping in and out of, without having to dedicate loads of time to. As one of the earliest survey sites to be set up, OnePoll certainly has longevity. Founded in the UK, it is open to US users and those further afield and runs polls for the press and leading brands. This means the content is more engaging than it can be elsewhere and you can find yourself answering questions about celebrities or gossip. Many users praise their surveys for being quick, and even better – fun! Topics are not as dry as they can be on other websites, and by keeping the surveys brief, OnePoll is less likely to leave you bored or frustrated.

Global Test Market is a decent standard of what you're getting yourself involved in.  Their practices are not any more or less shady or reputable than almost any online venue – survey or otherwise.  Just like Facebook, when you identify yourself accurately with Global Test Market, you can expect them to use that information in any way possible to make a penny.  The great news is they inform you and ask for consent first.


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.

Design and pre-test questionnaires: Designing the questionnaire carefully and then pre-testing it before fielding it to your entire sample is crucial to getting data that are valid and reliable. For example, careful questionnaire design and pre-testing can help reduce the chance that respondents may interpret the meaning of questions differently. Future posts in this series will tackle these important steps in much greater detail.
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.

One example would be that a brand like Coke or Pepsi wants to know more about what kind of people are buying their beverages. They might want to learn more about the age, gender, income, or location of the people who like or dislike their products. They might use this for marketing purposes or to make decisions about their future products. Brands like this spend a lot of time and money investing market research to get your feedback. You just get money for doing them a favor – it’s a total win-win!
Global Test Market is a decent standard of what you're getting yourself involved in.  Their practices are not any more or less shady or reputable than almost any online venue – survey or otherwise.  Just like Facebook, when you identify yourself accurately with Global Test Market, you can expect them to use that information in any way possible to make a penny.  The great news is they inform you and ask for consent first.

CashCrate. Many sites reward users through a confusing point system, so we appreciated that CashCrate discloses the monetary value of each survey. However, during surveys, we often struggled to determine when we were actually earning money and when we were attempting to qualify for paid opportunities. And after five hours in this confusing process, we didn’t earn enough money to cash out. Read more in our CashCrate review.
I did a lot of research over the weekend to find out what survey panels still pay in cash because, as you may know, many of them are now beginning to offer just gift cards to Amazon or other retailers in exchange for your time spent. I came up with a list of 20 ways you can take online surveys for money (although depending on the company they might also occasionally offer other rewards like Amazon gift cards as well).
We've tested hundreds of sites where you can take paid surveys for money and we've found that Swagbucks by far is our #1 pick. They've been around for years and have a solid track record of paying their users. Plus, we also like that they offer opportunities to get paid for doing things other than surveys, like signing up for offers or shopping in their portal.
And lastly, let's discuss privacy.  In some ways, Pinecone Research gets it right – they use the information to verify you are not a duplicate or in any way defrauding them out of a valuable opinion.  After that, they only use your personal information for developing metrics and usage statistics – not giving it out to every third party that comes along.  More importantly, they take consumer information privacy seriously.  When they compile their reports for their clients, they scrub all data of any identifying information.
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.
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