Mobile web surveys


FORS Guide Nº 01

How to cite

Herzing, J. M. E. (2019). Mobile web surveys. FORS Guide No. 01, Version 1.0. Lausanne: Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS. doi:10.24449/FG-2019-00001


This guide is for survey practitioners who want to conduct web surveys considering mobile devices or a mobile-only web survey. The guide points out different strategies on how to handle multiple devices and specifically mobile devices in web surveys with regard to web survey design and data quality. Furthermore, it addresses issues of questionnaire design and raises questions that can help to decide for one or the other survey software.


  • Do not ignore potential selectivity which might be introduced by web surveys and in particularly by mobile web surveys. In this regard, it is important to think about the target population, as for some target populations mobile web surveys are more relevant than for other target populations, e.g. adolescents versus elderly.
  • Think about the different devices with which people could participate in your web survey. Therefore, think about how to handle mobile devices in web surveys (browser-based or application-based survey).
  • Think carefully about the design of mobile web survey, e.g. questionnaire, length, etc., as a well-designed mobile web survey is likely to have the same data quality as a well-designed web survey.
  • Consider using different data collection approaches when conducting a mobile web survey. Maybe response burden can be lowered by finding different questionnaire designs, such as voice input for open-ended questions or by replacing survey questions with passively collected data.
  • Check the privacy and data protection regulations, as it might change and vary in different countries (and for different citizens).


Copyright: © the authors 2019. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)

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