Internet Methodologies in Housing Research.
In Methodologies in Housing Research (Eds. Hurol, Y.; Vestbro, D.; Wilkinson, N), Urban International Press, pp. 272 - 285.
Methodological leaps often follow advances in technology, and the internet has proved to be no exception, with the number of internet surveys being carried out increasing almost daily. This paper outlines the various advantages and disadvantages of internet based experiments and surveys compared with traditional pencil and paper methods, and discusses the similarities and differences between the two approaches. Using a case study carried out by the authors looking at reactions to various financial packages offered to potential house-buyers, this paper demonstrates some of the ways in which internet based methods can be used not only to give comparable results to traditional methods, but also to enhance the research process itself. In particular, the study presented is innovative insofar as it automatically re-calculated the parameters within a particular survey based on the responses of previous participants in the study. Whilst there is still a need to validate this technique, it is thought to offer considerable potential for future studies. This approach is methodologically innovative especially insofar as it suggests a new way of overcoming a problem well known within the field of environmental economics – namely that of ‘starting point bias’. Implications both for the case study presented and beyond are discussed.