Despite being around only a short period of time (relatively speaking that is) internet surveys have already had a serious effect on survey research. The first web browser was released in only in 1992, then Netscape Navigator shortly after (1994) and on its heels Internet Explorer in 1995. The first peer-reviewed and published journal papers on results from web based surveys appeared only as recently as 1996.
Since that time interest in both the internet and ways to reach the general population in the face of declining survey response rates has appeared to explode. Along the explosion of interest has come an interest in using the web as a survey data collection tool.
Some believe that web surveys will make all other methods of data collection obsolete. In part, this is because the relative cost of web surveys makes them a more cost-effective and accessible research method of data collection than telephone, in-person interview assisted surveys, or mail-in paper questionnaires.
In addition, the computerized nature of web based surveys facilitates creating online surveys quickly, as well as speeding up the process of collecting, analyzing and disseminating survey data. All these benefits to web surveys as a preferred data collection method suggest that the use of online surveys and web based survey tools will continue to expand into the foreseeable future.