Using E-mail To Survey Internet Users In The United States: Methodology And Assessment


  • Kim Bartel Sheehan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and her MBA from Boston University.
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  • Mariea Grubbs Hoy

    Corresponding author
    1. Associate Professor in the College of Communication at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She received both her MBA and Ph. D. in Marketing from Oklahoma State University.
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1275 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403

University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 476 Circle Park, Knoxville, TN 37996


The Internet's potential for academic and applied research has recently begun to be acknowledged and assessed. To date, researchers have used Web page-based surveys to study large groups of on-line users and e-mail surveys to study smaller, more homogenous on-line user groups. A relatively untapped use for the Internet is to use e-mail to survey broader Internet populations on both a national and international basis. Our experience using e-mail to study a national sample of Internet users is presented, beginning with a discussion of how a sample of on-line users can be selected using a ‘people finder’ search engine. We include an evaluation of the demographic characteristics of the respondent pool compared to both a web page-based survey and a telephone survey of Internet users. Considerations for researchers who are evaluating this method for their own studies are provided.