Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 496–505

Virtual subjects: Using the Internet as an alternative source of subjects and research environment


DOI: 10.3758/BF03210601

Cite this article as:
Smith, M.A. & Leigh, B. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers (1997) 29: 496. doi:10.3758/BF03210601


This paper presents a rationale for why some researchers might consider using the Internet for research by addressing four issues. First, a few unique research opportunities afforded by the Internet are discussed. Second, the utility of using newsgroups and theTelnet protocol is described. Third, Internet research ethical guidelines in five areas are developed. Fourth, the data validity issue is addressed, and previous research using Internet and introductory psychology subject samples is replicated. The samples were similar on 5 of 7 demographic variables but differed in age and sex compositions, and response patterns for the two samples were similar to those reported previously . Finally, some limitations of the Internet are considered, as are its potentials to fulfill traditional research requirements and its use as an educational aid.

Download to read the full article text

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College of the CaribooKamloopsCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations