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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311XOn-line version ISSN 1678-4464

Cad. Saúde Pública vol.36 no.7 Rio de Janeiro  2020  Epub July 03, 2020 


Good practices in conducting and reporting studies based on web surveys

Cláudia Medina Coeli1

Luciana Dias de Lima2

Marilia Sá Carvalho3

1 Instituto de Estudos em Saúde Coletiva, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

2 Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

3 Programa de Computação Científica, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has witnessed rapid growth in the number of articles published in scientific journals and posted to preprint servers. As of June 10, 2020, 22,746 articles had been published in periodicals indexed in PubMed, and 4,967 articles had been posted to the preprint servers medRxiv (4,017 articles) and bioRxiv (950 articles).

This is an unprecedented phenomenon, accompanied by growth in articles that are withdrawn or retracted, some just a few days after publication (

The scenario has raised some speculation that practices detrimental to research may be occurring 1,2, including lack of rigor in the conception, planning, and execution of research projects, as well as in the analysis and publication of results 3. Collaboration between researchers has been encouraged in clinical pharmacological studies 1,2, as well as the adoption of protocols that assess multiple treatments continuously and adaptively 4. The latter, compared to traditional randomized clinical trials, allow obtaining valid results more quickly.

Scientific studies in public health are essential for understanding the COVID-19 pandemic’s various dimensions and its health, social, political, and economic consequences. Such studies also help orient various types of public policies and organization of health services and healthcare provision. At a time when physical distancing is necessary, there is an increased need for alternative ways to collect primary data in empirical studies, in addition to using documents and secondary sources.

This edition of CSP features an article by De Boni 5, which, aligned with good research practices, addresses the precautions that must be taken when carrying out and reporting studies based on web surveys. The article discusses this method’s advantages (speed, large numbers, scope, low cost, and ease of implementation) and limitations. Among others, such aspects indicate the importance of describing the way the questionnaire was developed and validated, ethical issues related to the participants’ privacy and data security, strategies for publicizing the questionnaire and recruiting participants, and the study’s limits in relation to the research question.

We recommend that articles submitted to CSP follow the author’s recommendations, including those in the Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys (CHERRIES) 6.


1. Glasziou PP, Sanders S, Hoffmann T. Waste in COVID-19 research. BMJ 2020; 369:m1847. [ Links ]

2. London AJ, Kimmelman J. Against pandemic research exceptionalism. Science 2020; 368:476-7. [ Links ]

3. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Policy and Global Affairs; Committee on Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Policy; Committee on Responsible Science. Fostering integrity in research. (acessado em 10/Jun/2020). [ Links ]

4. The Adaptive Platform Trials Coalition. Adaptive platform trials: definition, design, conduct and reporting considerations. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2019; 18:797-807. [ Links ]

5. De Boni RB. Websurveys nos tempos de COVID-19. Cad Saúde Pública 2020; 36:e00155820. [ Links ]

6. Eysenbach G. Improving the quality of web surveys: the Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys (CHERRIES). J Med Internet Res 2004; 6:e34. [ Links ]

Received: June 15, 2020; Accepted: June 15, 2020


C. M. Coeli, L. D. Lima e M. S. Carvalho contributed to the conception, writing and approval of the final version.

Additional informations

ORCID: Cláudia Medina Coeli (0000-0003-1757-3940); Luciana Dias de Lima (0000-0002-0640-8387); Marilia Sá Carvalho (0000-0002-9566-0284).

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