Fieldwork Monitoring Strategies for Interviewer-Administered Surveys Special issue

Katharina Meitinger, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Daniela Ackermann-Piek, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Michael Blohm, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Brad Edwards, Westat, United States
Tobias Gummer, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Henning Silber, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany



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Using Geospatial Data to Monitor and Optimize Face-to-Face Fieldwork Special issue

Ina Bieber, Johannes N. Blumenberg, Manuela S. Blumenberg & Michael Blohm, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany


Interviewers occupy a key position in face-to-face interviews. Their behavior decisively contributes to the quality of surveys. However, monitoring interviewers in face-to-face surveys is much more challenging than in telephone surveys. It is often up to the interviewer when they conduct the interviews and which addresses they work on first. Nevertheless, homogeneous fieldwork, i.e. that which has a geographically similar processing status, is particularly essential for time- and event-dependent studies such as election studies. Irregular fieldwork combined with geographical differences can have substantial impacts on data quality. Using the example of the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES), we propose and …


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Developments in fieldwork procedures and monitoring in longitudinal surveys: case prioritisation and electronic contact sheets on the UK Millennium Cohort Study Special issue

Lisa Calderwood (1), Lucy Haselden (1), Vilma Agalioti-Sgompou (1), Andrew Cleary (2), Nickie Rose (2), Claire Bhaumik (2) and James Thom (2)
(1) Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL Institute of Education.
(2) Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute


Maximising response is important in any survey and especially so in a longitudinal survey where non-response at a particular wave contributes to attrition. A key element of response maximisation in face-to-face surveys is the adoption and implementation of thorough fieldwork procedures. The introduction of electronic sample management systems has provided more timely and accurate para-data with which to monitor interviewers’ compliance with fieldwork procedures. One of the major advantages of longitudinal surveys is that they are able to make use of prior wave data in order to identify cases at highest risk of non-response and thereby target appropriate fieldwork interventions …


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Using field monitoring strategies to improve panel sample representativeness: Application during data collection in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) Special issue

Michael Bergmann & Annette Scherpenzeel, Technical University of Munich (Chair for the Economics of Aging), Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA), Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, Germany


The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) is a multidisciplinary and cross-national face-to-face panel study of the process of population ageing. For the sixth wave of data collection, we applied an adaptive/responsive fieldwork design in the German sub-study of SHARE to test actual possibilities and effects of implementing targeted monitoring strategies during fieldwork. The central aim of this design was to improve panel sample representativeness by attempting to achieve more equal response probabilities across subgroups. However, our findings show that we only partly met this goal. Although our adaptive design (interviewer bonus incentives for 80+ respondents) indicated …


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Converting Nonrespondents in PIAAC Germany 2012 Using Responsive Measures Special issue

Silke Martin, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany
Anouk Zabal, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany


Using paradata to modify design features during fieldwork is the earmark of responsive designs (Groves & Heeringa, 2006). One objective of responsive approaches is to improve the composition of the final sample by gaining the participation of nonrespondents. A simple but innovative attempt at realizing such a response intervention was undertaken during the fieldwork of PIAAC Germany 2012. Different groups of nonrespondents were identified for follow-up efforts. With a view to the outcome measures of PIAAC, basic skills of the adult population, two groups were focused: Non-nationals and sample persons with low educational attainment. To identify these groups, different sources …


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The utility of auxiliary data for survey response modeling: Evidence from the German Internet Panel Special issue

Carina Cornesse, University of Mannheim and GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany


Auxiliary data are becoming more important as nonresponse rates increase and new fieldwork monitoring and respondent targeting strategies develop. In many cases, auxiliary data are collected or linked to the gross sample to predict survey response. If the auxiliary data have high predictive power, the response models can meaningfully inform survey operations as well as post-survey adjustment procedures. In this paper, I examine the utility of different sources of auxiliary data (sampling frame data, interviewer observations, and micro-geographic area data) for modeling survey response in a probability-based online panel in Germany. I find that the utility of each of these …


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Improving Central Monitoring of Fieldwork in Cross-national Surveys: The Case of the Fieldwork Management System in the European Social Survey Special issue

Roberto Briceno-Rosas, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany
Sarah Butt, City, University of London, United Kingdom
Joost Kappelhof, SCP – The Netherlands Institute for Social Research, The Netherlands


Cross-national surveys face the particular challenge of trying to balance optimal survey quality within a country with comparability across countries in terms of data quality. Addressing this challenge during fieldwork requires effective management of fieldwork data, a task made more difficult by the inherent differences between countries. This article argues that changes to the comprehensiveness, timeliness, consistency, and accessibility of fieldwork data facilitate monitoring and represent a necessary step forward towards achieving optimal data quality in cross-national surveys. It discusses the approach of the European Social Survey (ESS) for monitoring fieldwork cross-nationally, and specifically, the improvements made to central monitoring …


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Fieldwork Monitoring in Practice: Insights from 17 Large-scale Social Science Surveys in Germany Special issue

Katharina Meitinger (a), Sven Stadtmüller (b), Henning Silber (b), Roman Auriga (c), Michael Bergmann (d), Michael Blohm (b), Manuela Blumenberg (b), Pablo Christmann (b), Barbara Felderer (b), Corinna Frodermann (f), Florian Griese (g), Tobias Gummer (b), Achim Koch (b), Anita Kottwitz (h), Kristina Krell (h), Ulrich Krieger (e), Elisabeth Liebau (g), Silke Martin (b), Andre Müller-Kuller (c), Beatrice Rammstedt (b), Ines Schaurer (b), Annette Scherpenzeel (d), Claudia Schmiedeberg (i), Tobias Schmidt (j), Christian Schnaudt (b), Sascha Verhoeven (b), Anouk Zabal (b)

(a) Utrecht University, (b) GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, (c) Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), (d) MEA - Munich Center for the Economics of Aging, (e) University of Mannheim, (f) Institute for Employment Research (IAB), (g) German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), (h) Bielefeld University, (i) Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, (j) Deutsche Bundesbank


This study provides a synopsis of the current fieldwork monitoring practices of large-scale surveys in Germany. Based on the results of a standardized questionnaire, the study summarizes fieldwork monitoring indicators used and fieldwork measures carried out by 17 large-scale social sciences surveys in Germany. Our descriptive results reveal that a common set of fieldwork indicators and measures exist on which the studied surveys rely. However, it also uncovers the need for additional design-specific indicators. Finally, it underlines the importance of a close cooperation between survey representatives and fieldwork agencies to optimize processes in fieldwork monitoring in the German survey context. …


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