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Dietary questionnaires

The Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies (DQES v3.2) is a modification of the food frequency questionnaire that was developed by Cancer Council Victoria in the late 1980s to measure the dietary intake of people taking part in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. These were men and women recruited to 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. 


DQES v3.2 is an online questionnaire; it uses 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. 

Note: Cancer Council Victoria no longer offers a paper-based option (version 2) of the DQES. If you have any questions, please contact our Nutritional Assessment Office (details below).

The DQES v3.2 covers 80 items within five types of dietary intake:

  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

The online system is designed to be user-friendly; once the participant logs in, the web program guides them through the questionnaire. The questionnaire is 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 data collection. Further, the online version eliminates the possibility of missing data and of skipping never-eaten items in the questionnaire, as the participant needs to provide a response before moving to the next question.


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


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 are 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 a study participant is unable to read/understand it or does not have internet access. The online DQES promptsparticipants to answer each question before moving to the next, 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 DQESv3.2, see the comprehensive User Guide:  

Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies Version 3.2 (DQES v3.2) - User guide (PDF 1.24MB)

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 questionnaire administration, 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 1.24MB)

Frequently Asked Questions 

Click here to view the DQES FAQ page.