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Electronic bulletin board distributed questionnaires for exploratory research

Miller, J. and Daly, J. and Wood, M. and Brooks, A. and Roper, M. (1996) Electronic bulletin board distributed questionnaires for exploratory research. Journal of Information Science, 2 (2). pp. 107-115. ISSN 0165-5515

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Abstract

The use of electronic bulletin boards is increasing dramat ically ; they are now a significant source of opinion and experience-related commentary from a wide variety of people over a large range of topics. As such, they are a major information resource and potentially suitable as a vehicle for questionnaire distribution. To date, there has been no formal discussion of this vehicle - a deficiency this paper attempts to address. It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of this medium, and compares it against the other possible alternatives. We believe this comparison shows that the medium has a great deal to offer and a wide degree of applicability, especially within the area of exploratory research. The main deficiency with the medium is that it poten tially suffers from a large-scale self-selection bias. To inves tigate this, we have conducted a questionnaire study through this medium, and subsequently replicated it using a traditional mail distribution approach. We believe that this experiment provides evidence that, for populations without a sampling frame, the effect is of a similar magni tude for both bulletin board distributed and mail distrib uted surveys. We conclude that surveys using this new medium are valid, given the above restriction.