For a long time I have been meaning to set up a bunch of online surveys asking a whole range of social questions and publish the results.
I am well aware that there are various difficulties to overcome in this goal (e.g. privacy, excluding bots etc.). The hardest problem to overcome for me is the fact that any online survey will always have an inherently biased audience. People who visit my websites will certainly be biased (young, technical, probably left-wing), and the same is true for every single website on the internet.
However, my feeling is that some data is always better than no data, especially if I'm going into it with my eyes open to the potential for biases.
Are there established methods for controlling for and understanding exactly how your audience is biased? Are there certain control questions I could include in my surveys which can then be compared against a well-known normal distribution to understand a particular area of bias? Is this a common practice?
Edit: Phrased a different way: What methods / principles / areas of study exist for helping to understanding the ways in which the set of respondents to a given survey may be skewed as compared to a known population? And how reliably can this understanding then be used to draw conclusions from said survey about the known population?
Off the top of my head I can think of asking age or race (although some respondents might baulk at being asked these questions) and using these to better understand my sample, but are there guidelines around how to ask these sort of questions so as not to put people off? And are there particular subtle questions I can ask to uncover and understand more subtle audience biases, e.g. in political leaning or social class?
Most importantly, is this a well-known area of study which has a specific term in academia? If I know what it's called then I can more easily explore further reading on the subject.