A popular and free survey site, Toluna boats more than nine million users across the globe and is well known in the industry, having been running for 17 years. Offering questionnaires for you to fill in to provide leading companies with your opinions, Toluna also runs a range of internal games and schemes, as well as offering product testing to some lucky users who can bag free products.
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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.
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When considering an online survey tool, one great way to get acquainted with a product's capabilities is by taking its free version for a spin. These often allow the creation of simple surveys, some of which will even allow unlimited questions and respondents. However, if you're just trying to get some consensus from a group of friends or co-workers regarding a lunch restaurant preference, then you may not need to wade into the waters of dedicated online survey tools because simple polls are already built into Facebook and Twitter. Google Forms is also a free and easy-to-use web product from the omnipresent entity that is ideal for sending out a few simple questions and charting the results—or even tracking them in Google Sheets.
One of the most common formats used in survey questions is the “agree-disagree” format. In this type of question, respondents are asked whether they agree or disagree with a particular statement. Research has shown that, compared with the better educated and better informed, less educated and less informed respondents have a greater tendency to agree with such statements. This is sometimes called an “acquiescence bias” (since some kinds of respondents are more likely to acquiesce to the assertion than are others). A better practice is to offer respondents a choice between alternative statements. A Pew Research Center experiment with one of its routinely asked values questions illustrates the difference that question format can make. Not only does the forced choice format yield a very different result overall from the agree-disagree format, but the pattern of answers among better- and lesser-educated respondents also tends to be very different.
It’s never a good idea to write false information on your paid survey account or sign up for paid surveys that don’t match your characteristics. For example, if a paid survey is looking for a NASA aerospace engineer who is also a competitive food eater and has won the tour de France twice it isn’t a smart idea to claim to match those parameter (unless you really do). Paid survey companies often share information and if you have taken paid surveys for another company under the pretenses that you are a newly graduated software developer in Brighton, chances are that they will notice the discrepancies and you might be penalised for it. There have been a few cases of people having their paid survey account banned and all their hard earned money revoked for providing false information on a paid survey. It’s also not a good idea to register two email accounts for taking paid surveys because many paid survey panels frown upon this sort of behavior and may even ban you from taking their paid surveys.
This is a good option if you’re asking basic questions and only need to use multiple choice, multi-select, and open-answer formats. The answer options can be randomized, making your results more reliable by combating any selection bias that might be hidden in the answer order. The lack of page or question logic, however, makes it harder to ask follow-up questions.
“I participated in an in-home product trial study. A coffee machine company sent me one of the coffee makers along with about 200 coffee pods. I received $7 for completing 3 short surveys. Plus, after the study, the company said I could keep the coffee maker. So, I got like 4 mos of coffee for everyone in my household, a free coffee maker and $7!” - David W.