The Impact of Computer versus Paper-Pencil Survey, and Individual versus Group Administration, on Self Reports of Sensitive Behaviors
Computers in Human Behavior
The purpose of this study was to clarify the strengths and weaknesses of both computer based and paper–pencil methods of sensitive data collection in various administrative settings. A total of 180 students signed-up for optional course-credit and were randomly assigned to complete a questionnaire using either a paper–pencil, or a computer based method, and in one of the following administration settings: group, alone in a designated office, or being emailed/mailed the information and filling it out when/where they pleased. Results show that perceptions of anonymity and confidentiality were strongly correlated with self-reported accuracy. However, although perceptions of anonymity and confidentiality differed by condition, this had no statistically significant impact on responses. Though perceptions of anonymity and confidentiality differ between methods, neither method appears to be superior in the context of overall response bias.
Bates, S.C. and Cox, J. (2008). The impact of computer versus paper pencil survey, and individual versus group administration, on self reports of sensitive behaviors. Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 903-916.