Online surveys are increasingly becoming the leading research tool for companies, medical and educational institutions looking to gather valuable feedback from normal everyday people on products, services and more. They then use the information they gather to improve everything from the design of a sneaker to life-saving heart medications. In exchange for this feedback, survey participants are paid a varied amount of money.
Although there are thousands of legitimate work-at-home jobs available, it’s always a good idea to proceed with caution. There are plenty of less than stellar opportunities out there, promising big results with little or no return. While some of these are just bad gigs, others are straight up scams, looking to prey on dreams of those looking for a real work-at-home jobs.
Who can resist the dinging sound of a new email? You, that’s who, especially if you want to stay on task. And forget about signing in to Facebook “just for a minute.” It’s easy to get distracted when you telecommute—unlikely distractions that just don’t exist at work abound at home. At the office, for example, you might visit the company kitchen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for a cup of joe (because that’s what’s appropriate), but at home, you’re hitting the fridge every hour on the hour. Or more.
PollDaddy doesn’t allow data exporting, meaning you can only see responses in the aggregate. This view is sufficient if you’re just looking for the big picture, or aren’t confident in your analytical skills. The type of survey you need to run often determines whether you need data exporting functionality or not, so be sure to think through your survey plan in advance.
An example of a wording difference that had a significant impact on responses comes from a January 2003 Pew Research Center survey. When people were asked whether they would “favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule,” 68% said they favored military action while 25% said they opposed military action. However, when asked whether they would “favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule even if it meant that U.S. forces might suffer thousands of casualties,” responses were dramatically different; only 43% said they favored military action, while 48% said they opposed it. The introduction of U.S. casualties altered the context of the question and influenced whether people favored or opposed military action in Iraq.
Like most work-at-home jobs, the amount of money you make depends on your experience level and any specialties you may have. According to Salary.com, annual salaries for technical support representatives range from roughly $29,600 to $43,300 with a median salary of $34,400 a year. That breaks down to about $16.50 an hour, but again this figure varies widely.
Sometimes survey invitation links direct you to other survey companies, rather than keeping things in-house, which can feel a bit like spam. As is common in the industry, you can sometimes get stuck filling out lengthy qualifying questions which take up to 30 minutes just to see if you’re eligible for a survey. Needless to say if you find out you are not then this is extremely frustrating.
One of the oldest and longest running survey sites, Vindale Research is a legitimate option for making some money from filling out surveys. Based in New York, the company offers both traditional surveys and evaluations, by testing products or online services. It’s free to sign up, and surveys pay between $1 and $5 each and product testing starts at $5 and moves up from there. The site claims significantly higher rates of pay, but as this involves slightly inflated pricing, for example discounting fees you may have to pay out to join subscription sites before receiving your end payout, they won’t be included here.
“I first learned about TTEC from the university I was attending. I thought it would be a great idea to get a job working from home while going to school. When I first started working for the company, I was a seasonal agent. This grew into a permanent agent position. TTEC has enabled me to earn a degree, provide support to my family, gain skills in communication and technology, and meet great people from different parts of the world. What a wonderful company to work for! Every day is a great day here at TTEC!”
This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. “You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do,” says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. HomeWithTheKids.com, for example, currently features several such companies.
Second, there is nobody that’s making $3500 a month filling out online surveys. Sure, there are people who may earn $1000 or even $2000 a month, but they are in the minority. For most of us, it would be impossible unless you join every survey site that there is and spend every single waking hours filling out surveys. And that’s assuming if you are lucky enough to have that many surveys available, to begin with.
You'll add your survey questions, typing multiple choice answers in a list instead of having to type each entry separately. There's even answer options that are designed specifically for mobile devices—you can grab locations, scan QR codes, capture images and more right from a survey. Then, you'll deploy your survey to iOS and Android devices, where they can be filled out offline and sync their data back when you're online again. And you can use the same tool to build online surveys for your website, too.
For a twist on the typical survey designer interface, FluidSurveys offers a modern, streamlined look with quick links to your survey's editor, design and results on the left side. You can be editing your survey and quickly jump to its results, then go back to tweaking in seconds. You'll get that same speed when filling out your surveys, with an interface that'll even let you fill out the survey offline and upload the results later.
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.