Dietary questionnaires

The Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies (DQES) is a modification of the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that was developed by Cancer Council Victoria in the late 1980s to measure dietary intake of people taking part in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS). These were men and women recruited for the study between 1990 and 1994, who at the time of recruitment were 40-69 years of age and resided in Melbourne, Victoria. The majority of participants were born in Australia, Greece or Italy. 


If you are a new customer you are welcome to use DQES v2, but we encourage you to use DQES v3.2 because it has a larger list of food items to reflect new products, and is linked to more up-to-date nutrient data.

If you wish to order DQES v2 questionnaires please click here

New updated version now available 

DQES v3.2

What’s new?

  • DQES v3.2 is available only as an online questionnaire; there is no paper-based option for this version.
  • DQES v3.2 has expanded the questions to include food items that more accurately reflect the foods consumed today.
  • DQES v3.2 uses updated nutritional information from NUTTAB 2010 and AUSNUT 2007

The foods and portion sizes included in DQES v3.2 are based on information collected from older (mean age 61.3) Australian residents who were born in Australia, Italy or Greece. The questionnaire was validated for this population, but its validity for younger populations or people in other countries has not been determined. If you intend to use DQES v3.2 for a different population, you should consider performing a validation study, or at least trialling it in a similar demographic group before use.

For more detailed information on the changes made between DQES versions 2 and 3.2, please view the Changes to DQES v3.2 document and peruse the sample DQES v3.2 below. The DQES v3.2 covers five types of dietary intake, incorporating 80 items:

  1. Cereal foods, sweets and snacks
  2. Dairy products, meats and fish
  3. Fruit
  4. Vegetables
  5. Alcoholic beverages

Sample DQES v3.2 pdf

DQES v3.2 electronic format

DQES v3.2 is available only in an electronic (online) format. Previous versions of the DQES also had a paper-based option; this is not available with DQES v3.2. The online system is designed to be user-friendly and once the participant logs in, the web program guides them through the questionnaire. The questionnaires are only available in English.

Electronic data collection and analysis can be performed more efficiently and more accurately than with paper-based systems. The researcher also has the benefit of checking the links online to ascertain when participants have completed the questionnaire. This real-time capability helps to streamline a study’s collection time. Further, the online version eliminates blanks or incorrect answers in the questionnaire, as the participant needs to provide a response before moving to the next question. DQES v3.2 will control the input of single and multiple responses. DQES v3.2 is completed online through a secure server, and takes participants about 15 minutes to complete. The difference between the online versus hard-copy DQES processing effort is reflected in the lower unit price.

Analysis of DQES v3.2

Analysis of questionnaires for assessment of dietary intakes is undertaken by the Nutritional Assessment Office, Cancer Council Victoria, and is included in the unit price.

The output of the DQES v3.2 analysis includes:


  • Water
  • Energy Exc Fibre
  • Energy Inc Fibre
  • Retinol
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • All fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Thiamin
  • Sat fat
  • Folate
  • Vitamin C
  • Poly fat
  • Iron
  • Vitamin E
  • Mono fat
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Niacin
  • Alpha-Carotene
  • Carbohydrate
  • Niacin equiv
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Sugars
  • Phosphorus
  • Beta-Cryptoxanthin
  • Starch
  • Potassium
  • Lutein+Zeaxanthin
  • Dietary Fibre
  • Retinol equiv
  • Lycopene
  • Alcohol
  • Riboflavin
  • Individual fatty acids
  • Beta-carotene Equiv
  • Alpha-linolenic acid
  • Long chain omega-3 fatty acids
  • Linoleic acid
  • Iodine
  • Dietary folate equiv
  • Vitamin D
  • Cobalamin B12
  • Caffeine
  • Thiamin B1
  • Folate Natural
  • Niacin B6
  • Pyridoxine B6
  • Folic Acid
  • Biotin B7
  • Total Folates
  • Dietary Folate Equiv
  • Niacin Equiv
  • Pantothenic Acid B5



Intakes of most items are estimated from frequency questions that relate to the past 12 months. For a small number of seasonal fruits, respondents are asked to estimate their intake during the season and our calculations estimate the equivalent intake over the whole year.

Measurement of the intake of some nutrients may not be sufficiently accurate for all research purposes. For example, at the time when the questionnaire was developed, sodium intake was not a priority for cancer research and therefore detailed questions regarding salt intake were not included. Although sodium intake is reported in the analyses, it might not accurately reflect the true intake.

Nutrients from foods and alcoholic beverages are reported separately, although many researchers choose to combine these and report total intakes. How the data is used will depend on the research question being considered. At the design stage of your research, it is important to decide what the data will be used for and whether a food frequency questionnaire is appropriate for your purposes.

Administering DQES v3.2

DQES v3.2 is designed to be self-administered, but can be interviewer-administered if the study population is unable to read/understand it or does not have internet access.The online DQES prompts participants to answer each question before progressing through the questionnaire, thus reducing the chance of errors and missing responses. It is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that the questionnaires have been fully completed before requesting analysis from Cancer Council Victoria. For more information about DQES v3.2, see the comprehensive User Guide:


Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies Version 3.2 (DQES v3.2) - User guide (PDF 0.95MB)

When using the online dietary questionnaires, you will receive links, passwords and logins that enable you and the participants to access the questionnaire website.

Two links are provided for each participant. One is a generic link to the login screen of the website where the participant will need to use their ID and Password to access the questionnaire. The second is a link that is unique to each participant and will take them directly into the questionnaire.

You will also receive a coordinator login for reporting purposes. Your login and password will enable you to see how many participants have completed the questionnaire.

Processing, analysis and reporting of DQES v3.2, takes approximately two weeks.

Can we modify DQES v3.2?

The DQES has been designed to cover dietary intake over a period of 12 months, a period which is commonly used to assess a ‘usual' diet. It is possible to modify the reference time if you are using the online version of DQES, but this could involve an additional administrative cost. Also, as the questionnaire was not intended to be used over periods shorter than 12 months, we do not know how well it will perform in this situation.

It is not possible to add, subtract or change questions, as the software that calculates nutrients is designed to work with the entire questionnaire. It will not function if changes are made to the questionnaire content.

Fees & ordering

The DQES v3.2 is made available for use on a fee-for-service basis. It remains the property of Cancer Council Victoria.

The price per unit (as detailed in Table 1) includes questionnaires, analysis and GST ($AUD).

Please note: There is a minimum order size of 55 questionnaires.

Table 1

Price per unit for use of DQES v3.2


Minimum 55

(Includes analysis & GST)

55 to 99


100 to 499


500 to 999


1,000 plus



To order DQES v3.2, please complete the order form (which also includes a Memorandum of Understanding):

The completed order form and Memorandum of Understanding can be sent to the Nutritional Assessment Office at:


Login details for online questionnaires are dispatched within a week of receiving an order.

Refunds are not available for any questionnaires that are not used.


Payment for DQES v3.2 can be made with credit card or by invoice. Invoices and receipts for credit card payments are emailed by our Finance Department once the request or payment is received and processed.

More information

For more information, contact Nutritional Assessment Office:

Phone: +61 3 9514 6264

Or view Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies Version 3.2 (DQES v3.2) - User guide (PDF 0.95MB)


What are the changes in DQES v3.2?

This page shows the changes in DQES v3.2 compared to DQES v2. 


Our Food Frequency Questionnaires are a research tool provided by our Cancer Epidemiology & Intelligence Division. This page should answer any questions you may have.