New types of measurement in Internet-based research
Frederik Funke & Ulf-Dietrich Reips
Poster presented at the
10th congress of the
Swiss Society of Psychology
September 13-14, 2007 in Zurich (Switzerland)
Two different kinds of Internet-based research are presented: The utilization of the established
but rarely used visual analogue scale (VAS) for surveying large samples and the
application of collecting data with dynamic answer formats.
VAS are widely used in assessing subjective phenomena. In a paper and pencil environment,
this way of collecting data takes up a great deal of time as values have to be read
out manually - time that is saved in computer-based administration of VAS. We conducted
two Web experiments. The combination of both findings: There is strong evidence that data
collected with VAS are equidistant and on the level of an interval scale, while categorical
scales produce ordinal data only.
But Internet-based research can be more than just a carbon copy of paper and pencil surveys.
A new technical approach (dynamic forms) offers the possibility of reacting to the respondent’s
choice immediately. In experiment 3 we managed to reduce the complexity of
open-ended please-specify-if-yes-questions by dynamically showing text fields for specifying
answers only if the person questioned answered with yes. In experiment 4 we could
show that breaking down the answer process by gradually offering chunks of information
lead to better data quality than traditional ways (i.e. either showing all possible answers or
applying filters). Impact on response times is discussed.