Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 147–161 | Cite as

The BBC Internet Study: General Methodology

  • Stian ReimersEmail author
Original Paper


This article provides an overview of a large-scale web-based survey, commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), designed to investigate sex differences. I describe the background and challenges inherent to Web-based testing, the history and rationale behind this study, the design and implementation, and ethical and methodological considerations in the research design. I also discuss the kinds of data collected from around 255,000 participants, describe basic demographic information about the BBC sample, and examine reliability and validity, both internally and in comparison with other similar studies. I conclude that the dataset was largely reliable, and merits the analyses described later in this special section.


Web Internet Methodology Web-based research BBC 



The BBC committed a large number of “people hours” and a significant amount of money to implement this Internet survey, and those of us who have had the opportunity to contribute to the study and to use the data are collectively grateful to all those at the BBC who commissioned the project, supported its scientific goals, and who carried out the time-consuming work of actually implementing and testing the Internet survey. To mention a few by name, we are particularly grateful to Sara Woodford, series producer of Secrets of the Sexes, who took the decision to run a large-scale survey, and who allowed funding for the survey to come from the program budget. Special thanks also to Michael Mosley, executive producer of the TV series, Caragh Salisbury, who managed the Web-design project over several months, and to all the others at the BBC involved in designing, overseeing, and implementing the survey, in particular, Pete Harvey, Stephen Mather, and Matt Shearer. We hope that this example of productive collaboration between scientific researchers and the BBC will encourage similar projects in the future.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, University of WarwickWarwickUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, University College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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