We all, or almost all, have an Internet-based home computer and use it every day, either for UNI, for research, for work, for e-mails, for chatting, or just to pass the time – but how everything works, calculates and is feasible, probably know the least. But what we do know is that there are many ways to use the Internet for our psychological work – but how we spread and collect questionnaires over the Internet, or even perform online experiments with any subject from around the world, we knew until the preparation of our presentation topic is not so accurate.


For us, it is now about giving tips and information about research on the Internet and showing how we as future psychologists can use the Internet.

We will highlight the pros and cons of research via the internet, bring the approaches closer, and also present rules (ethics) and other important things that need special attention.


We will start with general facts and generally worth knowing about the Internet. Who is represented on the Internet and what to look for in the sample. Furthermore, rules and “commandments” are shown – the ethics to be followed when researching the Internet, then we will go into more detail on questionnaire investigations, provide information on how to spread a questionnaire on the Internet and get back and, of course, the advantages and disadvantages of this In addition, we will present a self-constructed online questionnaire in order to look at the whole thing a bit closer and thus to understand better.

Here we will then go into the experiments on the Internet. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages that we will present and here too, the same ethical principles apply. In addition, we will present a self-constructed online experiment to make the whole thing a little more vivid.

General and worth knowing

Especially for psychologists (or for aspiring psychologists, who should and can carry out numerous questionnaire studies during their studies), scientific research is often one of the most difficult areas of the work. Where are the subjects? How can I contact these subjects? Where can I conduct the investigation? Does it cost me a lot of money? And most importantly, how do I get the questionnaires back? Or: How do I get to the data obtained? …

The three main advantages of using computers are:

• Flexibility (possibility for adaptive and simultaneous testing)

• Economics (savings of time and personnel resources)

Objectivity (implementation and evaluation)

(Exact description in point 4: Web experiments)

Internet-based sampling design

Many of our research questions address groups that belong to a specific target group. The number of people who can be reached via this medium and belong to this target group influences the sample. Since 1999 and today not everyone was “represented” on the internet, Bernard Batinic and Michael Bosnjak tried to spread the Internet

and the socio-demographic composition to be expected.

population Description

Since no subscriber directory exists on the Internet, numbers are obtained by host counts.

For example, the Internet – Domain Survey has been doing such host counts every 6 months since 1986 and came to the following numbers in 1999:

January 1999: 43 230 000 hosts connected to the Internet.

August 1999 in Germany: 1 609 995 August 1999 in Europe: 9 148 276

In addition, a doubling could be detected every year. (It should be emphasized here that these figures come from 1999).

In January 2007, there were already about 500 million

It should also be emphasized that several people can be connected via one host. (none, 1 or even hundreds of thousands)

Estimates indicate that in 1999 there were between 151 and 346 million Internet users worldwide. Up to 12.1 million in Germany.

Note, however, the sources of error in such extrapolations based on host and person factor! These numbers can only be seen as a rough guide.

According to a website (see list of references), there were 18 million Internet users in Germany in 2000! This makes the different estimates even clearer.

Today, in 2007, almost 338 million Europeans are represented on the Internet, and now there are already 1, 244, 449, 601 billion people worldwide! You can clearly see how drastically the number has increased in recent years!

The big advantage that it was easily possible and feasible through the Internet to make cross-cultural surveys is another plus point, but the worldwide distribution is still unevenly distributed. In 1999, it was e.g. only 25 countries that had more than 100,000 network computers.

Example of countries without network computers in 1999: Suriname, Sierra, Leone, Oman, Malawi, Iraq, Haiti, Gambia, Fiji, Zaire, Angola, Ethiopia, Micronesia.