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Using the Internet For Psychological Research: Personality Testing on the World Wide Web.British Journal of Psychology, 90.Buchanan, Tom & Smith, John L. (1999) October 29, 2002 Alexia DaSilva, Stacey Smith, Jennifer Traver, & Ann Dorlet
Benefits Easy access to info Low cost Automatic scoring and analysis Validity -Deja News Drawbacks Worst form of testing Batinic (1999) Validity - PsycLIT database Why Have Testing on the Internet?
Validity of the Internet:Past Research • Sexual fantasies & Paper/pencil v. Internet Smith & Leigh (1997) • In favor of: • Internet sample more representative of pop. • WWW as a substitute • Opposition: • Premature conclusions • Recruiting issues
Validity of the Internet:Computerized Testing • Equivalence • Speed • Multiple and forced choice items • Anonymity and increased self-disclosure
Is the Internet Reliable & Valid? • Questionable identities and demographics • Increased heterogeneity and representation • Too many confounding variables • Difference in interest levels • Uncontrollable test-taking environment • One user, multiple tests • Varied computer formatting and interfaces
Establishing Reliability & Validity - Computerized tests favored over pencil/paper • Testing must have constant… • Presentation • Participant composition • Environment • Test-retest reliability unavailable in computerized environment • Confirmatory factor analysis
Participants Sample 1: - 963 Internet participants - Ages 11-67 Sample 2: - 224 undergrad volunteers - Ages 18-53 Procedure Test 1: Recruited from Usenet newgroups Snyder’s Self Monitoring scale Test 2: Recruited from Univ. Sunderland classes Given paper/pencil version Present Researchers’ Method *Both included proper debriefing and score interpretation
Present Researchers’ Methods:(Cont’d) Results: • Coefficient alpha: -Sample 1 = .75 ; Sample 2 = .73 2. Chi square analysis found poor fit, possibly misleading 3. Internet sample had higher GFI, AGFI, & RMS 4. No significant difference in means
Conclusions & Discussion • Reliability of internet version higher than previously reported • Continuance of reliability and validity testing needed • Random tests made by unprofessionals • Problems with demographic info • Exclusive to those with internet access • Cross-sampling may occur
Critical Review Discussion • The participants were recruited from a psychology news site which may mean that the sample was not a variety of people like the researchers hoped. • Construct validity is still not tested for. • Results from the Internet testing were actually better than those for the paper test.