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Classroom or cyberspace? Ethical and methodological challenges of on-line gambling surveys for adolescents

Julie Lahn, Paul Delfabbro, Peter Grabosky


This paper outlines the practical and ethical implications of a recent trial of an on-line adolescent gambling survey conducted in Australia's capital city, Canberra. The main aim of the survey was to explore the potential suitability of an on-line methodology for future national gambling studies. The trial identified a number of important methodological and ethical advantages and disadvantages associated with using an on-line methodology. The principal advantage of this method is that it minimises disruption to school routines because it allows greater flexibility in the timing of the survey and in the amount of teacher time required for administration. However, the trial also provided useful insights into the potential disadvantages of this methodology, including difficulties in obtaining adequate response rates, lack of control over the administration context, and missed opportunities to obtain more detailed open-ended responses.


on-line methodology; adolescents; surveys; schools; gambling

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