Does Self-Selection Affect Samples' Representativeness in Online Surveys? An Investigation in Online Video Game Research

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Version: Final published version
License: CC BY 4.0
Serval ID
serval:BIB_D8C1AFE3A8F0
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
Does Self-Selection Affect Samples' Representativeness in Online Surveys? An Investigation in Online Video Game Research
Journal
Journal of Medical Internet Research
Author(s)
Khazaal Yasser, van Singer Mathias, Chatton Anne, Achab Sophia, Zullino Daniele, Rothen Stephane, Khan Riaz, Billieux Joel, Thorens Gabriel
ISSN
1438-8871
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2014
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
16
Number
7
Pages
e164
Language
english
Abstract
Background: The number of medical studies performed through online surveys has increased dramatically in recent years.
Despite their numerous advantages (eg, sample size, facilitated access to individuals presenting stigmatizing issues), selection
bias may exist in online surveys. However, evidence on the representativeness of self-selected samples in online studies is patchy.
Objective: Our objective was to explore the representativeness of a self-selected sample of online gamers using online players’
virtual characters (avatars).
Methods: All avatars belonged to individuals playing World of Warcraft (WoW), currently the most widely used online game.
Avatars’ characteristics were defined using various games’ scores, reported on the WoW’s official website, and two self-selected
samples from previous studies were compared with a randomly selected sample of avatars.
Results: We used scores linked to 1240 avatars (762 from the self-selected samples and 478 from the random sample). The two
self-selected samples of avatars had higher scores on most of the assessed variables (except for guild membership and exploration).
Furthermore, some guilds were overrepresented in the self-selected samples.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that more proficient players or players more involved in the game may be more likely to
participate in online surveys. Caution is needed in the interpretation of studies based on online surveys that used a self-selection
recruitment procedure. Epidemiological evidence on the reduced representativeness of sample of online surveys is warranted
Keywords
Health Informatics, Internet, bias, online survey, self-selection, random sample, World of Warcraft, massively multiplayer online role-playing
Pubmed
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
10/01/2020 9:31
Last modification date
21/01/2020 9:46
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