, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 572-577

Web-based administration of a personality questionnaire: Comparison with traditional methods


The World-Wide Web holds great promise as a mechanism for questionnaire-based research. But are data from Web-based questionnaires comparable to data from standard paper-and-pencil questionnaires? This study assessed the equivalence of the Ruminative Responses Scale in a Web-based format and in a paper-and-pencil format among introductory psychology, upper-level psychology, and non-psychology students. Internal consistency coefficients were comparable across the groups. The participants in the Web sample reported higher levels of self-focused rumination than did the other groups. Women in the Web sample reported more self-focused rumination than did women in the other groups. In the Web sample, results did not covary with access location. These results suggest that findings from Web-based questionnaire research are comparable with results obtained using standard procedures. The computerized Web interface may also facilitate self-disclosure among research participants.

This research was supported by U.S. Public Health Grant 51817 to Susan Nolen-Hoeksema. I thank Michael Bishop, Jamie Polito, and Andrew Ward for their assistance with data collection. I also thank Tom Buchanan for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.