For many of us, to work from home is the ultimate indication of freedom. It means that you own both your time and your space, that your life is firmly within your control. Yet not every job can be done from afar. Some jobs, like being a pilot or a flight attendant, must be done from a certain place at a certain time, while others, like being a security consultant or a software developer, are extremely remote-friendly.
Some of the “gotcha” job offers from the past include check-cashing schemes, mystery shopping, medical billing “jobs” that require you to purchase expensive computer software, and craft-making jobs that ask you to pony up the cash for materials before you get started. And let’s not forget about the famous envelope-stuffing scam that was nothing more than a pyramid scheme designed to siphon money from as many people as possible.
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).
As one of the biggest names in survey apps, SurveyMonkey offers more than just a tool to arrange your questions and gather answers. It also includes templates and pre-written questions that are designed to help its users get accurate answers and unbiased results by avoiding conflict of interest and questions that insinuate the "correct" answer (check out SurveyMonkey's post about Survey Bank for more info—and tips on how to make your own questions unbiased). Then, you can check your survey against other survey stats from the same industries in SurveyMonkey's database, giving you a way to benchmark your answers and know what they really mean.
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.
One Poll is a company that was founded in the United Kingdom, but it’s also open to consumers in the United States and beyond. It claims to be recognized by Money Saving Expert, one of the largest consumer websites in that country, which is a reassuring recommendation. What I recognized about it is that the surveys are short and easy to complete, so ideal if you’ve had a hard day and don’t want to do anything too taxing. New surveys are added on a daily basis, and some are amusingly quirky.
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That said, with surveys often being iterative projects, it is sometimes difficult to anticipate this in advance, so also inquire whether it is possible to upgrade or downgrade. In general, I looked at feature sets that tended to be available at two pricing tiers: basic tiers at approximately $300 per year and advanced tiers at approximately $1,000 per year. However, there are bargains to be found among the field, particularly if you're willing to endure some UI or feature compromises.
Define the research question: This is critically important to the success of a survey research project. Without a clearly defined question, it is difficult to determine the best approach for conducting the survey. For example, based on the research question, are the needed data exploratory, descriptive, or causal? The answer to this basic question has huge implications for the entire research process, yet it is often not directly addressed.