Electronic-only surveys may miss important data

January 9, 2013

For companies and organizations that rely on surveys for information, there are a number of digital options. However, while this may be a more environmentally friendly alternative, there are still a number of advantages to using paper forms. As one university is discovering, there are both advantages and disadvantages of electronic surveys. When switching to electronic teacher evaluations, student responses decreased significantly. According to the Digital Universe, Brigham Young University’s online student newspaper, only 60 percent of students complete teacher evaluations now that the process has gone online. A task force has now been created at BYU to recreate the process to better appeal to students. “There are two improvements that I hope occur,” Trav Johnson, who oversees the BYU task force told the news source. “Number one: to help students realize how important [evaluations] are and to be conscientious about giving feedback, and number two: to help faculty see that the students take these [evaluations] seriously so they pay attention to what students say.” There have been other concerns about the disadvantages of electronic surveys and how they might play out on a broader scale. While online forms may give organizations the ability to reach respondents quicker, the survey may be missing valuable information that could skew the results. Most recently, when the U.S. Census Bureau announced for the first time annual American Community Survey could be completed online, the CEO is worried those without access to a computer will not be heard, and the results will not be in their favor. And unless the responses from online surveys are the same as those of paper, forms processing services – used to compile results – are still very much relevant. Tab Service Company is a leading provider of document scanning and data entry services. As an SOC2-approved service organization, we apply industry-best practices to our approach with clients.