Systematic review of the use of online questionnaires of older adults

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Aged, 80 and over; *Aging; Chronic Disease; Data Collection; Geriatric Assessment; Humans; Independent Living; *Internet; World Health


Geriatrics | Health Communication | Health Information Technology


OBJECTIVES: To describe methodological approaches to population targeting and sampling and to summarize limitations of Internet-based questionnaires in older adults.

DESIGN: Systematic literature review.

SETTING: Studies using online questionnaires in older adult populations.

PARTICIPANTS: English-language articles using search terms for geriatric, age 65 and over, Internet survey, online survey, Internet questionnaire, and online questionnaire in PubMed and EBSCO host between 1984 and July 2012. Inclusion criteria were study population mean age 65 and older and use of an online questionnaire for research. Review of 336 abstracts yielded 14 articles for full review by two investigators; 11 articles met inclusion criteria.

MEASUREMENTS: Articles were extracted for study design and setting, participant characteristics, recruitment strategy, country, and study limitations.

RESULTS: Eleven articles were published after 2001. Studies had populations with a mean age of 65 to 78, included descriptive and analytical designs, and were conducted in the United States, Australia, and Japan. Recruiting methods varied widely from paper fliers and personal e-mails to use of consumer marketing panels. Investigator-reported study limitations included the use of small convenience samples and limited generalizability.

CONCLUSION: Online questionnaires are a feasible method of surveying older adults in some geographic regions and for some subsets of older adults, but limited Internet access constrains recruiting methods and often limits study generalizability. Geriatrics Society.


UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Apr;62(4):696-705. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12747.Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID