A key choice in the design of Web surveys is whether to place the survey questions in a multitude of short pages or in long scrollable pages. There are advantages and disadvantages of each approach, but little empirical evidence to guide the choice. In 2003 we conducted a survey of over 21,000 undergraduate students. Ten percent of the 10,000 respondents were directed to the scrollable version of the survey, containing a single form for each of the major sections. The balance was assigned to the paging version, in which questions were presented to be visible without scrolling. The instrument contained a maximum of 268 possible questions, including topics that varied in sensitivity and desirability. The survey also permitted comparison of the effect of skip patterns by implementing skip instructions and hyperlinks in the scrollable design, and also recorded time at the end of each of the five topical sections. Differences between designs are evaluated in terms of various forms of nonresponse, univariate and bivariate measurement properties, and proxies for respondent burden.
Web survey design: Paging versus scrolling