Combining quantative and qualitative data collection on the Internet

I’ve quickly seen some recent mentions of a new project out of Princeton called All Our Ideas. Here is how the creators describe the project:

All Our Ideas is a research project to develop a new form of social data collection that combines the best features of quantitative and qualitative methods. Using the power of the web, we are creating a data collection tool that has the scale, speed, and quantification of a survey while still allowing for new information to “bubble up” from respondents as happens in interviews, participant observation, and focus groups.

Of course, one of the problems with surveys is that they force respondents to fit their responses to the questions that are asked. If you ask bad questions, you get bad results or if you don’t provide the options respondents want, you don’t really get the kind of data you want. Qualitative data, on the other hand, tends to be limited to a smaller sample because it takes more time to interview people or conduct focus groups.

I will be very curious to see what emerges out of this website.