Reliability and validity of self-reported burnout in college students: A cross randomized comparison of paper-and-pencil vs. online administration

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2011-09-01

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Pergamon-Elsevier B.V. Ltd

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Internet data collection is becoming increasingly popular in all research fields dealing with human perceptions, behaviors and opinions. Advantages of internet data collection, when compared to the traditional paper-and-pencil format, include reduced costs, automatic database creation, and the absence of researcher-related bias effects, such as availability and complete anonymity. However, the validity and reliability of internet gathered data must be established, in comparison to the usual paper-and-pencil accepted formats, before an inferential analysis can be done. In this study, we compared questionnaire data gathered from the internet with that from the traditional paper-and-pencil in a sample of college students. The questionnaires used were the Maslach Burnout Inventory - Student Survey (MBI-SS), the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OBI-SS) and the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI-SS). Data was gathered through a within-subject cross randomized and counterbalanced design, on both internet and paper-and-pencil formats. The results showed no interference in the application order, and a good reliability for both formats. However, concordance between answers was generally higher in the paper-and-pencil format than on the internet. The factorial structure was invariant in the three burnout inventories. Data gathered in this study supports the Internet as a convenient, user-friendly, comfortable and secure data gathering method which does not affect the accepted factorial structures existent in the paper format of the three burnout inventories used. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Computers In Human Behavior. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V. Ltd, v. 27, n. 5, p. 1875-1883, 2011.

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