The point of each survey is to present you with a topic you're interested in and qualified to discuss for the benefit of the researcher. Surveys range in time required, from very short to quite long. Because researchers are looking for opinions only from certain segments of people, you may find you have to try a few surveys before you're qualified to give your opinion on one. Keep at it, and you'll eventually find one that's right up your alley.
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.
There are also many questionable "middleman" third-party paid survey sites that hype easy money for participating in online marketing research from home. Here, the old adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Further, it’s worth knowing that there’s a lot of competition among these companies for your participation – which means potential for exaggeration, at the very least, if not outright scams.
All of the surveys from RAND Health Care are public documents, available without charge. Please provide an appropriate citation when using these products. In some cases, the materials themselves include specific instructions for citation. Some materials listed are not available from RAND Health Care. Those links will take you to other websites, where you will find instructions for use. There are no further permissions necessary.
Ultimately, it is very unlikely that participating in online surveys will provide you with a steady, livable wage. However, if you enjoy participating in online surveys (especially if you like the prizes, coupons, and other more typical non-monetary earnings), be sure to avoid questionable third-party sites. Look for real paid surveys online that don’t require you to invest money.
I’ve had bad experiences with iPoll. I’ll answer the “screening” questions and am told I qualify to take the survey, then once the survey is around 90% complete, I’m told the survey is “closed”. My guess is this is how they’re getting their data without having to pay participants. I’ve also gotten “invalid website” in the middle of some of their surveys as well, of course, after answering 15 minutes of questions.
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.