Ames, S.L., Gallaher, P.E., Sun, P. & Pearce, S. (2005). A Web-based program for coding open-ended response protocols. Behavior Research Methods, 37(3), 470-471.
Authors provide a description of a Web-based application that provides researchers with the ability to analyze participant-generated and open-ended data. Authors note that the application was developed in order to take advantage of online surveying based on its ease of use and flexibility. Authors note that this application may be of particular value to researchers who are employing large sample sizes that are frequently needed for projects in which frequency analyses are required. The application uses a grid-based set of criteria to establish codes for participant-generated and open-ended data collected from online surveys and can be applied for scoring results from stem completion,-word or picture associations, and comparable purposes in which such participant-generated responses require categorization and coding. Authors advise that they use this application for their professional online surveying purpose in experimental psychology to examine substance abuse patterns derived from participant-generated responses to various verbal and nonverbal associative memory problems, but that the application is also appropriate for other research areas as well. Authors also note that the application helps improve survey reliability by providing a systematic approach to coding participant-generated responses as well as evaluating the quality of coding and interjudge reliability by researchers with little or no specific training for the purposes. Authors conclude that the coding application is helpful for survey research that uses open-ended responses in virtually any research area of interest.
Austin, T.M., Richter, R.R. & Reinking, M.F. (2008). A primer on Web surveys. Journal of Allied Health, 37(3), 180-181.
Authors report that survey research has become a widely accepted research methodology that has been facilitated through the introduction of computer-based and online survey methods. Authors also emphasize that although electronic survey methods are useful in a wide range of settings for a variety of purposes, they are not appropriate in every situation. Online surveys involve various technologies that have not been available (or required) for paper-and-pencil surveys and require special considerations involving their design, pilot testing, and response rates. Authors present the results of their empirical observations and professional experience in using Web-based surveys to illustrate some of the advantages and disadvantages of the approach, including security and confidentiality issues (they make the point that electronic surveys are particularly vulnerable to compromise and that survey data must be protected as the research progresses) as well as the special considerations that must be taken into account as they apply to this surveying approach. Authors also discuss issues such as sampling error, a "how-to" guide to writing survey questions for online media, and how to order questions to ensure that respondents answer accurately and faithfully. All in all, this was a very timely guide for researchers for identifying when Web-based surveys are most appropriate and what factors should be taken into account in the design, posting and analysis of online surveys.