The use of the internet in psychological research: Comparison of online and offline questionnaires

Giuseppe Riva, Tiziana Teruzzi, Luigi Anolli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Internet can be an effective medium for the posting, exchange, and collection of information in psychology-related research and data. The relative ease and inexpensiveness of creating and maintaining Web-based applications, associated with the simplicity of use via the graphic-user interface format of form-based surveys, can establish a new research frontier for the social and behavioral sciences. To explore the possible use of Internet tools in psychological research, this study compared Web-based assessment techniques with traditional paper-based methods of different measures of Internet attitudes and behaviors in an Italian sample. The collected data were analyzed to identify both differences between the two samples and in the psychometric characteristics of the questionnaires. Even if we found significant differences between the two samples in the Internet attitudes and behaviors, no relevant differences were found in the psychometric properties of the different questionnaires. This result, similar to the ones previously obtained in Web-based assessments of personality constructs, is even more interesting given the lack of control on the characteristics of the online sample. These finding suggests that, if sampling control and validity assessment is provided, Internet-based questionnaires can be a suitable alternative to more traditional paper-based measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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