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Can We Rely On Internet Sexual Research Sample? Comparison Of An Internet-Based Survey And Paper-Based Survey In Adult Poles
The internet-based sexual studies are becoming more and more popular (Ross at al. 2005; Cooper at al, 2003). This study offers a comparison of internet-based survey and paper-based survey on sexual activities of adult Poles thus contributing to the international discussion about biases in internet-based samples.
The objectives of this study were: • to compare results of internet-based and paper-based surveys on sexual lifestyles in Poland. • to investigate attitudes to various forms of sexual expression and sexually related issues.
A questionnaire containing 133 items was developed and validated by the authors and was made available to volunteers either online or in paper form. The online questionnaire was administered through a university website to volunteers recruited online through search engines or e-mailing lists. The paper version was distributed among volunteer students of two large cosmopolitan universities and among employees of six randomly selected companies in Poland.
There were 596 responses with 54% males and 46% females (internet sample) and 48% males and 52% females (paper-based sample). • Both samples consisted mostly of well educated people (aged 22-28), living in major cities. • The internet-based sample and paper-based sample presented similar behavioural characteristics toward different sexual activities (oral and anal sex, casual sex, sex for money). • Higher percentage of people identified themselves as homosexuals in internet-based survey (12%) than paper-based survey (6%).
Conclusions: There were many similarities in demographics, sexual biography and current sexual behaviour between internet-based and paper-based samples. However, this Internet sample revealed more permissive attitudes toward different sexually related issues than the paper-based sample.