European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 287–296 | Cite as

Comparison between web-based and paper versions of a self-administered anthropometric questionnaire

  • Mathilde Touvier
  • Caroline Méjean
  • Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot
  • Clothilde Pollet
  • Aurélie Malon
  • Katia Castetbon
  • Serge Hercberg


Online data collection could advantageously replace paper-and-pencil questionnaires in epidemiological studies by reducing the logistic burden, the cost and the duration of data processing. However, there is a need for studies comparing these new instruments to traditional ones. Our objective was to compare the web-based version of the NutriNet-Santé self-administered anthropometric questionnaire to the paper-based version. The questionnaire included 17 questions divided into subquestions (55 variables in all) dealing with height, weight, hip and waist circumferences, weight history, restrictive diet and weight self-perception. Both versions of the questionnaire were filled out by 147 volunteers (paper version first, N = 76, or web-based version first, N = 71) participating in the SU.VI.MAX (“Supplémentation en VItamines Minéraux et AntioXydants”) cohort (age-range: 49–75 years; men: 46.3%). At the end of the test, subjects filled in a “satisfaction” questionnaire giving their opinions and feelings about each version. Agreement was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and kappas. We also quantified the number of errors inherent in the paper version. Agreement between the two versions was high. ICCs ranged from 0.86 to 1.00. Kappas ranged from 0.69 to 1.00 for comparable variables. A total of 82 data entry mistakes (1.5% of total entries), 60 missing values (1.1%), 57 inconsistent values (1.1%) and 3 abnormal values (0.1%) were counted in the paper version (non-existent in the web-based version due to integrated controls). The web-based version was preferred by 92.2% of users. In conclusion, the quality of information provided by the web-based anthropometric questionnaire used in the NutriNet-Santé Study was equal to, or better than, that of the paper version, with substantial logistic and cost advantages.


Anthropometry Comparative study Internet Self-administered Web-based questionnaire 



Intraclass correlation coefficient



We thank the scientists, dieticians, technicians and assistants who helped to carry out the NutriNet-Santé test studies, and all dedicated and conscientious volunteers. We especially thank Soizic Gueho (data manager) for performing statistical analysis and Gwenael Monot (computer scientist), who is coordinating the computer aspects of the NutriNet-Santé Study. We thank Voluntis (a healthcare software company) for developing the NutriNet-Santé web-based interface according to our guidelines. We are grateful to Jerri Bram for English editing of the manuscript. This work was supported by the Ministère de la Santé (DGS, French Ministry of Health); the Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS); the Institut National de Prévention et d’Education pour la Santé (INPES); the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM); the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm); the Institut de Recherche en Santé Publique (IRESP); the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (Inra); the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM); and Paris 13 University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathilde Touvier
    • 1
  • Caroline Méjean
    • 1
  • Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot
    • 1
  • Clothilde Pollet
    • 1
  • Aurélie Malon
    • 1
  • Katia Castetbon
    • 2
  • Serge Hercberg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.UREN (Unité de Recherche en Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle)U557 Inserm/U1125 Inra/Cnam/Paris 13, CRNH IdFBobignyFrance
  2. 2.USEN (Unité de Surveillance et d’Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle)Institut de Veille SanitaireBobignyFrance
  3. 3.Département de Santé PubliqueHôpital AvicenneBobignyFrance

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