With the advent of internet, we find many activities being performed online starting from online jobs, online discussion forums, online societies, online dating to online shopping! The range is really getting wider and wider with time. Online research has always been popular among academicians and professionals since the beginning of the World Wide Web. But, recently, a new trend has been increasingly observed and that is the rise of companies specializing in online research. These companies have amalgamated Information Technology with core subjects like Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Finance et al. and have given scope to many who have happily made online research their source of earning livelihood.

There are several methods used for carrying out online research. Some of them are online interviewing, online questionnaires, online ethnography, online focus groups, web-based experiments et al. Online questionnaires are often used to help in collection of data. Online interviews also help in the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. ‘Online ethnography’ refers to the adaptation of ethnographic methods to study various communities and cultures. Online focus groups are specific groups that form the target or the subject of the research, who participate in a discussion that is based on some pre-designed questions. Web-based experiments are, as the name clearly suggests, the experiments that are carried out over the net, generally involving psychological interpretation or study of the behavioral patterns. Social networking sites also help a lot in such researches, providing a greater insight to consumer preferences and their changing tastes. So, basically, online research is an area that’s still quite new and calls for many more innovations.

The main advantage of online research is that a lot of information on a particular topic is available at a single place. Unlike a physical library, where one has to hop from shelf to shelf to find the required materials, on the internet, just the keyword of the research will give us all the relevant materials available. In the beginning though, there were a lot of doubts regarding the authenticity of the information available on the net. But, now, a lot of certifications and legal restrictions ensure the availability of reliable data on the net. Every organization, these days, has an official website, where it updates all its latest developments. Among other advantages, it helps us to reach people who are located in remote areas. It also saves time and resource. In fact, many other sectors of industries also face the problem of consolidating huge amount of data and interpreting them. They often enter into contracts with these research and analytics companies to do the task.

With increasing demand of online research, the prices paid by the clients are also increasing. Profit-making or sustainability of the industry is, therefore, not at all a problem. The online research companies are earning huge revenues these days. Some of the top online research companies are Brainjuicer, TNS Global, Vision Critical, 121 Research, 7P Think Tank Group, A+A Healthcare Marketing Research, Abacus Research, ACE international, American TPA, Benchmark Asia Research Group, Cataliz group, CBC group, Customer Research, GFK group, InsightAsia Research, Ipsos group, Kadence International, Market Quotient and many more.

Thus, the online research industry is highly competitive, at the same time being highly profit making. There is also an immense opportunity of growth and development within the industry. But, innovation is really the key to success for these companies. The most innovative ones will be frontrunners here.