Web-based administration of a personality questionnaire: comparison with traditional methods

Behav Res Methods Instrum Comput. 1999 Nov;31(4):572-7. doi: 10.3758/bf03200737.


The World-Wide Web holds great promise as a mechanism for questionnaire-based research. But are data from Web-based questionnaires comparable to data from standard paper-and-pencil questionnaires? This study assessed the equivalence of the Ruminative Responses Scale in a Web-based format and in a paper-and-pencil format among introductory psychology, upper-level psychology, and non-psychology students. Internal consistency coefficients were comparable across the groups. The participants in the Web sample reported higher levels of self-focused rumination than did the other groups. Women in the Web sample reported more self-focused rumination than did women in the other groups. In the Web sample, results did not covary with access location. These results suggest that findings from Web-based questionnaire research are comparable with results obtained using standard procedures. The computerized Web interface may also facilitate self-disclosure among research participants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Online Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Inventory / standards*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sampling Studies
  • Selection Bias
  • Sex Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities