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Swoboda, Walter J.; Mühlberger, Nikolai; Weitkunat, Rolf; Schneeweiß, Sebastian (1997): Internet Surveys by Direct Mailing: An Innovative Way of Collecting Data. In: Social Science Computer Review, Vol. 15, No. 3: pp. 242-255




This article describes a new method of collecting data by direct mailing via the Internet. Feasibility and capacities were evaluated through a worldwide opinion poll on global future risks of mankind and potential solutions. Within 1 day, a structured questionnaire was sent to 8,859 randomly selected e-mail addresses. One thousand seven hundred and thirteen were remailed properly completed, 90 within 4 days. Most respondents were residents of North America (64) and Europe (21 ), male (87), and 30 years old on average. Environmental destruction (52) was mentioned as the primary problem, followed by violence (45) and unemployment (45). Education (71 ) was the most frequently proposed solution to future problems. It is obvious that Internet surveys at this time are not repre sentative of the total population. However, they open new dimensions in the interrogation of experts and opinion leaders, especially considering their efficiency and potential for automation.