How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
The tech industry is well known for its flexible schedules and telecommuting opportunities, which makes sense, considering most tech companies are web-based and technology is the greatest resource when working from home. With video chats, conference calls, VPN networks, and wireless Internet, we can constantly stay connected as though we were sitting in our office, rather than at home.
Among those tools, you'll find the features you need to be creative with your survey, including options to let your contacts capture images, record audio and video, and upload files from your survey. You can upload photos of your own, store them in Surveypal, and reuse them later in your surveys—and you can add custom code to your survey to track analytics and more. You'll get the same great survey features, with an extra dose of creativity.
Perhaps the most important part of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately measure the opinions, experiences and behaviors of the public. Accurate random sampling and high response rates will be wasted if the information gathered is built on a shaky foundation of ambiguous or biased questions. Creating good measures involves both writing good questions and organizing them to form the questionnaire.
Survey Junkie uses a point system for their rewards. For every survey you complete, you’ll get anywhere from 50 – 450 points. 100 points equals $1. Unlike some of the other competition, Survey Junkie is very honest about how much you’ll make. They clearly say on their website, “You Will Not Get Rich” taking surveys. This is refreshing to see after so many websites claim you’ll be able to quit your day job and sit at home taking surveys all day.
When asking closed-ended questions, the choice of options provided, how each option is described, the number of response options offered and the order in which options are read can all influence how people respond. One example of the impact of how categories are defined can be found in a Pew Research poll conducted in January 2002: When half of the sample was asked whether it was “more important for President Bush to focus on domestic policy or foreign policy,” 52% chose domestic policy while only 34% said foreign policy. When the category “foreign policy” was narrowed to a specific aspect – “the war on terrorism” – far more people chose it; only 33% chose domestic policy while 52% chose the war on terrorism.
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.
For example, in a poll conducted after the presidential election in 2008, people responded very differently to two versions of this question: “What one issue mattered most to you in deciding how you voted for president?” One was closed-ended and the other open-ended. In the closed-ended version, respondents were provided five options (and could volunteer an option not on the list).
Paid survey site companies invest billions of dollars into marketing research online. They always want to find out more intricate details of a consumer's relationship with their product. Whether it's a new television show or just an existing product line, companies like Disney, Samsung, and Sony go to great lengths to find out their ideal audiences.
Alas, while there are elements of Qualtrics that would be of near-universal benefit, only those individuals creating the most sophisticated surveys can justify its off-the-charts cost. Like a full-frame photo professional's digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, Qualtrics is not the best choice for novice online survey designers. It provides very little hand-holding or wizards like other tools do. And at $1,500 per year for its entry-level tier, Qualtrics' pricing begins at about where our No. 2 choice SurveyGizmo's pricing tops off.
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.