APA Citation: Meyerson, P. & Tryon, W. W. (2003). Validating internet research: A test of the psychometric equivalence of internet and in-person samples. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35(4), 614-620.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study evaluated the psychometric equivalency of Web-based research. The Sexual Boredom Scale was presented via the World-Wide Web along with five additional scales used to validate it. A subset of 533 participants that matched a previously published sample (Watt & Ewing, 1996) on age, gender, and race was identified. An 8 X 8 correlation matrix from the matched Internet sample was compared via structural equation modeling with a similar 8 X 8 correlation matrix from the previously published study. The Internet and previously published samples were psychometrically equivalent. Coefficient alpha values calculated on the matched Internet sample yielded reliability coefficients almost identical to those for the previously published sample. Factors such as computer administration and uncontrollable administration settings did not appear to affect the results. Demographic data indicated an overrepresentation of males by about 6% and Caucasians by about 13% relative to the U.S. Census (2000). A total of 2,230 participants were obtained in about 8 months without remuneration. These results suggest that data collection on the Web is (1) reliable, (2) valid, (3) reasonably representative, (4) cost effective, and (5) efficient.

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