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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Journal of Medical Internet Research >
Volume 4 (2002) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4638


Title: Using the Internet for Surveys and Health Research
Authors: Eysenbach, Gunther
Wyatt, Jeremy
Keywords: Tutorial
Clinical Trials
Confidentiality
Data Collection
Ethics, Research
Evaluation Studies
Informed Consent
Internet
Patient Selection
Qualitative Research
Research Design
Selection bias
Survey research
Research Subjects
Issue Date: 22-Nov-2002
Publisher: Gunther Eysenbach; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada
Citation: Gunther Eysenbach, Jeremy Wyatt. Using the Internet for Surveys and Health Research. J Med Internet Res 2002;4(2):e13 <URL: http://www.jmir.org/2002/2/e13/>
Abstract: [This item is a preserved copy and is not necessarily the most recent version. To view the current item, visit http://www.jmir.org/2002/2/e13/ ] This paper concerns the use of the Internet in the research process, from identifying research issues through qualitative research, through using the Web for surveys and clinical trials, to pre-publishing and publishing research results. Material published on the Internet may be a valuable resource for researchers desiring to understand people and the social and cultural contexts within which they live outside of experimental settings, with due emphasis on the interpretations, experiences, and views of `real world' people. Reviews of information posted by consumers on the Internet may help to identify health beliefs, common topics, motives, information, and emotional needs of patients, and point to areas where research is needed. The Internet can further be used for survey research. Internet-based surveys may be conducted by means of interactive interviews or by questionnaires designed for self-completion. Electronic one-to-one interviews can be conducted via e-mail or using chat rooms. Questionnaires can be administered by e-mail (e.g. using mailing lists), by posting to newsgroups, and on the Web using fill-in forms. In "open" web-based surveys, selection bias occurs due to the non-representative nature of the Internet population, and (more importantly) through self-selection of participants, i.e. the non-representative nature of respondents, also called the `volunteer effect'. A synopsis of important techniques and tips for implementing Web-based surveys is given. Ethical issues involved in any type of online research are discussed. Internet addresses for finding methods and protocols are provided. The Web is also being used to assist in the identification and conduction of clinical trials. For example, the web can be used by researchers doing a systematic review who are looking for unpublished trials. Finally, the web is used for two distinct types of electronic publication. Type 1 publication is unrefereed publication of protocols or work in progress (a `post-publication' peer review process may take place), whereas Type 2 publication is peer-reviewed and will ordinarily take place in online journals.
Description: Reviewer: McKenzie, Bruce
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4638
ISSN: 1438-8871
Other Identifiers: doi:10.2196/jmir.4.2.e13
Rights: Copyright (cc) Retained by author(s) under a Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Appears in Collections:Volume 4 (2002)

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