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Comparing web-based versus face-to-face and paper-and-pencil questionnaire data collected through two Belgian health surveys

Abstract

Objectives

Using the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) questionnaire, a web-based survey was organized alongside a face-to-face (F2F) survey including a paper-and-pencil (P&P) questionnaire for sensitive topics. Associated with these different modes, other design features varied too (e.g., recruitment, incentives, sampling). We assessed whether these whole data collection systems developed around the modes produced equivalent health estimates.

Methods

Data were obtained from two population-based surveys: the EHISWEB (web-administered, n = 1010) and the Belgian Health Interview Survey 2018 (BHIS2018) (interviewer-administered, n = 2748). Logistic regression analyses were used to assess mode system differences while adjusting for socio-demographic differences in the net samples.

Results

For the P&P mode of the BHIS, significant mode system differences were detected for 2 of the 9 health indicators. Among the indicators collected via the F2F mode, 9 of the 18 indicators showed significant differences.

Conclusions

Indicators collected via the web-based and P&P self-administered modes were generally more comparable than indicators collected via the web-based and F2F mode. Furthermore, fewer differences were detected for indicators based on simple and factual questions compared to indicators based on subjective or complex questions.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the EHISWEB and BHIS2018 study participants.

Funding

This research project was funded by the Belgian Science Policy (Belspo).

Author information

Correspondence to Elise Braekman.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in these studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethics Committee of the University Hospital of Ghent.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Braekman, E., Charafeddine, R., Demarest, S. et al. Comparing web-based versus face-to-face and paper-and-pencil questionnaire data collected through two Belgian health surveys. Int J Public Health 65, 5–16 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-019-01327-9

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Keywords

  • Health surveys
  • Data collection
  • Web-based surveys
  • Face-to-face surveys
  • Mode systems
  • Data comparability