1. Can we modify the DQES?
The DQES has been designed to cover dietary intake over a period of 12 months, a period which is commonly used to assess ‘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 set-up cost (approximately $900.00). 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 for reduced time periods.
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.
2. What do we get when we buy copies of DQES?
The cost covers copies of the questionnaire, online or printed (hardcopy), scanning of printed questionnaires and calculation of outputs using Cancer Council Victoria software. For both online and printed versions, 5 output files are provided:
- raw data
- calculated intakes of all foods and beverages in g/day
- nutrients from food and non-alcoholic benefits
- nutrients from alcoholic beverages
- error report listing inconsistencies and missing information
Details of the nutrients included in the reports can be found in the DQES v2 User Guide (PDF 1 MB) and DQES v3.2 User Guide (PDF 0.9 MB) .
3. What population is the DQES designed for?
The foods and portion sizes included in the DQES are based on information collected from middle-aged Australian residents who were born in Australia, Italy or Greece. Version 2 of the questionnaire was validated for Australian women, but its validity for younger populations or people in other countries has not been determined. The updated version, DQES v3.2, was based on the previous version and validated in a sub-group of the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study who were men and women from Australia, Greece and Italy with a mean age around 60 years. If you intend to use the DQES in a different population, you should consider performing a validation study or at least trialling it in a similar demographic group before use.
4. What languages are the questionnaires available in?
The questionnaires are only available in English.
5. How is the DQES administered?
The questionnaire is designed to be self-administered, but can be interviewer-administered if the study population is unable to read or understand it. Both online and printed versions of the questionnaire are available.
6. What about seasonal differences?
Intakes of most items are estimated from frequency questions that relate to the past 12 months. If there are seasonal differences in dietary intake, the person completing the questionnaire will need to estimate their average intake over the whole year; for example, if they ate salad with lettuce twice a week in spring and summer (i.e. 6 months or half the year) and never for the rest of the year, they should record this as once a week on the questionnaire.
7. Is the DQES suitable for assessing all nutrients?
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. Thus, although sodium intake is reported in the analyses, it might not be accurately reflect the true intake.
8. How do we use the data from DQES?
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.
9. What about missing responses?
For the online version missing responses do not occur, as the web program ensures that all questions are answered.
For the printed version, it is important that the researcher checks that all questions have been answered before submitting for analysis.
Submission of incomplete questionnaires could delay processing or result in possibly incorrect assumptions being made. If more than 50% of responses are blank the questionnaire will not be processed. Where respondents leave questions blank it is generally assumed that the item was not consumed. It is best if questionnaires can be checked immediately after completion and any issues resolved before submitting.
10. Do the printed questionnaires have to be returned for analysis in batches or in a particular order, such as according their barcode numbers sequence?
We have no preference as to how many printed questionnaires you send back at once, or the number order you in which you send them. We scan and analyse the questionnaires in whatever order we receive them.
11. I noticed there is an online version and I wonder how this is works?
If you choose the online option for the 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.
A user manual is also provided.
12. Is the online questionnaire easy to use?
The online system is designed to be user-friendly and once the participant logs in, the web program guides them through the questionnaire.
13. How long does it take to complete the online questionnaire?
Approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
14. Do the online questionnaires have to be used by a certain time?
The online questionnaires have a 12 month expiry date, but this can be extended by negotiation.
15. What versions of the questionnaires are available?
There are two versions of the DQES available for purchase, the original DQES v2 and the updated DQES v3.2. DQES v2 is available both paper-based and online, DQES v3.2 is available online only. 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.
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