Comparing probability and non-probability sampling methods in Ecstasy research: implications for the internet as a research tool

Subst Use Misuse. 2010 Feb;45(3):437-50. doi: 10.3109/10826080903452470.


The usage of Ecstasy and related drug (ERD) has increasingly been the focus of epidemiological and other public health-related research. One of the more promising methods is the use of the Internet as a recruitment and survey tool. However, there remain methodological concerns and questions about representativeness. Three samples of ERD users in Melbourne, Australia surveyed in 2004 are compared in terms of a number of key demographic and drug use variables. The Internet, face-to-face, and probability sampling methods appear to access similar but not identical groups of ERD users. Implications and limitations of the study are noted and future research is recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Drug Users / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / administration & dosage
  • Sampling Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Illicit Drugs
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine