Paper based surveys advantages and disadvantages

7 November, 2019

Unsure which method of data collection to use? Take a look into a list of advantages/disadvantages and decide the optimal method for your research project.


One of the main advantages of paper surveys is that they generate much higher response rates than web questionnaires. [1] Additionally, the majority of respondents often believe that printed surveys are more anonymous than online surveys, which leads to the belief that respondents may be more honest on printed surveys. [2] Furthermore, printed surveys have the same formatting. This ensures that all respondents receive the same format and setting survey.


The primary disadvantage of paper surveys is that it requires higher labor and financial investments. This is especially true if your organization is fully managing the survey process in-house. However, you can avoid this downside by working with reputable survey companies. For example, at, we handle the majority of the labor involved and minimize the manual work required - we help you to collect and analyze responses much faster - just create a paper survey online, print it and fill it out. Paper survey responses will be automatically recognized and digitized for you to analyze it further.

[1] Nulty, Duncan D. “The adequacy of response rates to online and paper surveys: what can be done?” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education: Vol. 33, No. 3, June 2008, 301-314.

[2] Dommeyer, C.J., P., Baum, K. Chapman, and R.W. Hanna, 2002. Attitudes of business faculty towards two methods of collecting teaching evaluations: paper vs. online. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 27, no. 5: 455–462

Page last updated: 23 December, 2019

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