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Abstract

Web surveys potentially cost less to administer and are more convenient for participants than either telephone or paper-based surveys, but concern remains about the representativeness of the respondents to the population. This research investigates the effectiveness of using Web-based survey methods by comparing response rates and demographic characteristics of the telephone-based and web-based survey respondents. The paper first reviews survey research methodologies, including recent trends in web-based surveys that take advantage of the power of modern computing and telecommunications technology. The issue of respondent characteristics in web-based surveys is then explored by comparing respondent demographics of an ongoing telephone survey to those of a subsequent Web survey of the same population. Exploratory and confirmatory statistical analyses are used to triangulate the findings and test the hypotheses. The data suggests that demographics of the respondents of the two methods are similar across race and age, but differ significantly across income and education levels, implying a converging digital divide.

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