Online and traditional paper-and-pencil survey administration: Examining experimenter presence, sensitive material and long surveys

Wood, Eileen; Nosko, Amanda; Desmarais, Serge; Ross, Craig; Irvine, Colleen
September 2006
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2006, Vol. 15 Issue 3/4, p147
Academic Journal
The present study examined response differences between paper-and-pencil versus computer administered surveys as a function of experimenter presence, survey length, and sensitive material, including sexuality-related measures. Three conditions were employed, one traditional supervised paper-and-pencil condition, one online computer administration condition that was supervised, and one unsupervised online computer administration condition. Missing data were greatest in the paper-and-pencil condition specifically at the end of this long survey in comparison to both online computer conditions. Of the four measures assessing sensitive material, more missing data were found in the paper-and-pencil condition but only for one measure assessing sensitive content. Researcher presence did not have an impact on performance. These findings have important implications for designing and interpreting survey outcomes.


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