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.
Swagbucks. This site offers a lot of opportunities for surveys, but disqualifications are frequent. Sometimes we got disqualified just from clicking on a link to a survey. Swagbucks aggregates third-party surveys, so some sites it sends you to are better than others. It takes a long time to earn points, but the site’s expansive rewards marketplace has hundreds of options to choose from, including gift cards, sweepstakes and PayPal payments. Check out our full Swagbucks review.
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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.
The rewards for the MySurvey surveys are on par (or better than some) with most other sites. They offer $0.50 to $1.25 for every survey that you complete, with the shorter surveys only taking around 5 minutes to finish. When you want to cash out, you’ll have to accumulate $10, which is less than some of the other sites, and you’ll be able to get your money through a check, PayPal, Amazon gift card, or the more than 60 other gift card options. Sign up for a free mysurvey account HERE.
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.
Toluna. Unlike many other sites, Toluna lets users pick the topics of their surveys, such as electronics or travel, which made the work more interesting. However, this perk didn’t make up for its low pay. Upon converting points to cash, we earned only 71 cents per hour — one of the lowest rates of all the sites we tested. Our five hours’ worth of points weren’t nearly enough to redeem the cheapest gift cards. Learn more in our Toluna review.
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Survey Club has been offering online paid surveys since 2005, and in the fast paced every changing world of the web that’s a reassuringly long amount of time. They are a bit of an acquired taste, in that they specialise in long, detailed surveys for high end clients rather than the quick and cheerful consumer surveys that you may be more familiar with. Whilst this does mean that you may have to commit a bit more time, it does mean that if you have the patience to persevere with them they pay more money than most survey and reward sites. They also offer local taste tests (see what I said about ‘an acquired taste’?), and secret shopper opportunities.
There’s lots of additional ways to boost your income on Vindale, including rewards for opening adverts sent to your email account, or small payments for watching advertising videos online. The site pays out in plain and simple cash, and doesn’t mess around with rewards or gift cards, which many people familiar with the survey landscape find a welcome relief. However, as with OnePoll, you’ll have to earn $50 before you can remove you money from the site, which may not be as tempting as some companies where the threshold is much lower.

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.

Select a representative sample: Selecting a representative sample from your sampling frame is also important for collecting valid and reliable data about the population of interest. For example, if you are sampling from a large database of customer email addresses and only wanted one response per household, you might want to cross-check each email address against mailing addresses and remove duplicates to avoid some households having a greater probability of selection. Then you would likely draw a random sample from the remaining list of email addresses.
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