Taking online surveys is an easy way to earn residual income. The amount of income you earn will depend on how many surveys you qualify for and complete. You can increase your chances by understanding how research organizations develop survey questions. Research organizations strategically develop survey questions to gain accurate data from a specific group of participants to gain insights on various subjects; market research surveys gains consumer opinions on products and services; political polls provide the results of opinions on political and national issues; and medical studies provides valuable insight into healthcare related issues.
The typical structure of a survey contains the following:
- Pre-qualification questions;
- Qualification questions;
- Elimination questions;
- Survey questions; and
- Classification questions.
This blog post will focus on the pre qualification, qualification, and elimination questions, because your answers to these questions determine your eligibility to complete a survey.
How to Always Qualify for Online Surveys
The first thing you should do after registering with a consumer panel is to complete your profile. The more the panel knows about you and the broader your range of interests, the more survey invitations you will receive. Don't be afraid to express yourself. If your circumstances change after becoming a member of a panel, you can always update your profile. Most research panels will periodically send you email reminders to update your profile. You can also increase the number of survey opportunities by registering with several free, paid survey sites.
Typically, the first part of a survey is the pre-qualification stage. This portion of the study will ask questions such as your age, sex, race, and place of residence. Depending on the required demographics of the study, some participants may be disqualified after completing this portion. For example, if the required demographic is Non-Hispanic females, aged 20-30, living in Irvine, CA; only participants that meet this criteria will be qualified to continue the survey. So fill it accordingly.
Another type of pre-qualification question may ask you to indicate survey topics that you have participated in within the past month. If you indicate that you have recently participated in a study on a particular topic, you may be disqualified.
Possible reasons for disqualification may be:
1. If you are registered with more than one site, and may have already participated in the study.
2. You may be disqualified to prevent confidential product information from being compromised.
So always indicate you haven't participated in a similar survey.
The next part of a typical study is the qualification stage. This portion of the study narrows down those who pre-qualify to a more targeted group of respondents. Let's say that you've met the demographic criteria of the example mentioned earlier. The next set of questions is to narrow down that demographic to a specific group of people. For example, this study may only target Non Hispanic females, aged 20-30, living in Irvine, CA, that use private transportation. Only the participants within this group will qualify to complete the study.
Topic: A new alcoholic beverage that will soon be on the market. You may ask the following qualification question:
- Have you consumed an alcoholic beverage in the past 12 months?
This study is looking for respondents that consume alcohol. If you answer no, you may be disqualified. If you do not drink alcohol, you cannot give your opinion of the new alcoholic beverage.
(Tip: You should answer yes, even if you only consume alcohol on special occasions.)
Topic: A healthcare service. A qualification question may ask if you would consider using the internet for health related activities.
- This study is looking for respondents to give opinions of an online healthcare service.
If you indicate that you would not use the internet for health related activities, you will be disqualified. Your answer indicates that you have no interest in the topic.
(Tip: A willingness to try something different, often qualifies you to complete the session.)
Topic: A health condition. These are the most difficult surveys for panelist to qualify to complete. One sample question will provide a long list of health conditions, and ask if you have ever suffered from, or been diagnosed with any of the conditions.
- This study is looking for respondents that suffer from particular health condition(s).
You may not qualify for the survey if you do not click on any of the conditions. In addition, you may not qualify if you do not click on the condition(s) that will be discussed.
(Tip: Click on as many health conditions as apply to you, even if you have not suffered from a particular condition in a long time.
Topic: A new DVD release.
- A qualification question may ask you to indicate the last time you purchased a new DVD.
You are given the options of clicking 1 month; 3 month; 6 months; and 12 months. This question is asked to determine if you purchase DVD's on a regular basis. If you click 6 or 12 months, you may be disqualified from the study. This answer indicates that you do not purchase DVD's on a regular basis. Clicking the 1 month or 3 month options will likely qualify you to continue the study.
(Tip: When answering questions that give you a range of options to select, it is best to stay within the middle.)
Topic: A skin care product. An elimination question for this type of study may be:
- Which of these products would you never consider using?
It will give you a list of products and ask you to click the ones that you will not use. If you indicate that you will never use a product, you will be disqualified. The study will ask you to compare similar products to determine if you prefer one product over another.
(Tip: Flexibility is the most important characteristic of a panelist. You will likely qualify for more surveys if you remember to "never say never.")
Topic: An upcoming presidential election. You may be asked the following elimination question:
- Have you made up your mind about which presidential candidate you will vote for?
This survey is to determine if you will change your vote after learning more about the candidates. If you indicate that you have decided on a candidate, you may be disqualified. It would serve no purpose for you to continue the study.
(Tip: Open mindedness will open the door to more survey invitations.)
Generally, once participants have passed the qualification portion of the study, they are eligible to complete the entire study. However, if you are disqualified from a study after you've spent 20 minutes or more answering questions, or the survey window simply goes blank with no explanation at all, this is an indication that the site is a scam. These sites are only out to gather information, and the information that you provide will be used to spam your email.
Generating income from taking online surveys requires patience. You will start earning money right away, but it may be several weeks or even months before you receive it. The key to generating residual income from taking online surveys is to regularly complete surveys to build up your account balances. Most panels require that you have a specified minimum balance in your account before you can cash out. You will soon start receiving checks in the mail, and deposits into your PayPal account on a continuous basis.