Posted: 2021-09-14 19:00:00
Background: Worldwide, there is a remarkable increase in Internet use, with a current penetration rate of 62%. This widespread Internet use and the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) preventive measures provide opportunities for data collection using the Internet in healthcare research. No recent studies have been conducted regarding the methodological issues of asynchronous Internet research that employed opened-ended questions to explore providers' and patients' experiences. Purpose: This study utilizes prior research to explore methodological issues that affect online research using open-ended questions to obtain health data. Methods: The electronic databases searched were PubMed, CINAHL, and full-text Ovid. Reference lists and the Journal of Medical Internet Research were manually searched. The search strategy was based on the PRISMA flow diagram. Articles published between January 2003 and May 2020 were searched. Inclusion criteria were asynchronous online researcher-led studies that used open-ended questions to explore healthcare issues. Methodological issues were extracted from the selected studies. Results: The evidence suggests that factors such as technical/website study/survey design issues, smartphone study applications, use of reminders, incentives, overrecruiting participants, using a combination of asynchronous and synchronous methods, trustworthiness, ethical and security issues affect the quality of data obtained in online health research. Implications for practice: Asynchronous online research methods with open-ended questions could be used to collect high-quality data from patients, healthcare providers, and other participants in self-isolation, quarantine, and in diverse locations. However, researchers should be aware of the identified methodological issues. Future research could explore methodological issues and data quality in combined asynchronous and synchronous data collection methods. Keywords: asynchronous; focus groups; interview surveys; methodological issues; online research.
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