Article (Scientific journals)
Virtual Selves and Web Surveys
Manfreda, Katja; Couper, Mick; Vohar, Mateja et al.
2002In Metodološki zvezki, 18, p. 187-213
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi


Full Text
Publisher postprint (233.7 kB)
Request a copy

All documents in ORBilu are protected by a user license.

Send to


Keywords :
Online surveys; Research Methodology; Social desirability
Abstract :
[en] With rapid transfer of many forms of social inquiry through structured questionnaires to the Web it is increasingly important to explore whether the Web is indeed a ‘socially neutral’ research tool as many believe. Because of the graphical and interactive nature of the Web and the context of global environment, social desirability effects in Web surveys may be different from with other self-administered methods, which usually reduce them. In addition, increased use of interactive services, such as multiple user domains, interactive chat rooms and interactive online games encourages widespread adoption of ‘virtual personas’ on the Web. It is thus important to explore how participation in such interactive services may mitigate potential benefits of the Web for social research. Our research explores whether those who are frequent participants in so-called ‘alternate realities’ on the Web are more likely to present their ‘virtual personas’ or their ‘real selves’ when answering questions in Web surveys. Users of interactive services are identified in a large national Web survey of Internet users in Slovenia within the project RIS ( at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. They are asked a variety of questions relating to self-image that are known to be subject to social desirability bias. At the end of the survey they are asked for their telephone number. A random sample of respondents from the population of non-users of interactive services is also selected. Both groups are then administered a telephone survey, with the key self-presentation and social desirability items replicated. We then compare the responses to the telephone survey with those provided in the Web survey. Our hypothesis is that those who are regular participants in interactive services are more likely to present themselves in a different light on the Web than on the telephone, relative to the non-user group.
Disciplines :
Sociology & social sciences
Author, co-author :
Manfreda, Katja;  University of Ljubljana > Faculty of Social Sciences
Couper, Mick;  University of Michigan > Survey Research Center
Vohar, Mateja;  University of Ljubljana > Faculty of Social Sciences
Rivas, Salvador  ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET)
Vehovar, Vasja;  University of Ljubljana > Faculty of Social Sciences
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Virtual Selves and Web Surveys
Publication date :
Journal title :
Metodološki zvezki
Publisher :
Statistical Society of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Special issue title :
Developments in Social Science Methodology
Volume :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Available on ORBilu :
since 05 November 2018


Number of views
63 (0 by Unilu)
Number of downloads
0 (0 by Unilu)


Similar publications

Contact ORBilu