Revisiting the ESS R8 sample a year after – Lessons from a re-contact survey to test patterns of unit non-response in Hungary

Blanka Szeitl, Tárki Social Research Institute, Budapest & Department of Statistics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
István György Tóth, Tárki Social Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary


The phenomenon of declining response rates is a major challenge for empirical social research. Should the loss of response units be non-random, population estimates may become biased. A rising share of the “unreachable” may lead to an increased probability of non-randomness of the loss. Exploring the process is therefore crucial to understanding what can be expected of our achieved samples. In a recent study, we investigated patterns of response unit loss by conducting a lagged recontact survey based on the European Social Survey (ESS) Round 8. We found that before one arrives at a premature verdict of unreachability, it is …


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Respondent Understanding of Data Linkage Consent

Joseph W. Sakshaug, German Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and University of Mannheim, Germany
Alexandra Schmucker, German Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Germany
Frauke Kreuter, German Institute for Employment Research (IAB), University of Maryland, and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
Mick P. Couper, University of Michigan and University of Maryland, USA
Leonie Holtmann, Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany


Across survey organizations around the world, there is increasing pressure to augment survey data with administrative data. In many settings, obtaining informed consent from respondents is required before administrative data can be linked. A key question is whether respondents understand the linkage consent request and if consent is correlated with respondent understanding. In the present study, we investigate these issues in separate telephone and Web surveys, where respondents were presented with follow-up knowledge questions to assess their understanding of the linkage consent request. Overall, we find that understanding of the linkage request is relatively high among respondents who consent to …


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How does switching a Probability-Based Online Panel to a Smartphone-Optimized Design Affect Response Rates and Smartphone Use?

Barbara Felderer, GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany and University of Mannheim, Germany
Jessica M. E. Herzing, University of Bern, Switzerland and University of Mannheim, Germany
Christian Bruch, GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany and University of Mannheim, Germany
Ulrich Krieger, University of Mannheim, Germany
Annelies G. Blom, University of Mannheim, Germany


In recent years, an increasing number of online panel participants respond to surveys on smartphones. As a result, survey practitioners are faced with a difficult decision: Either they hold the questionnaire design constant over time and thus stay with the original desktop-optimized design; or they switch to a smartphone-optimized format and thus accommodate respondents who prefer participating on their smartphone. Even though this decision is all but trivial, little research thus far has been conducted on the effect of such an adjustment on panel members’ survey participation and device use. We report on the switch to a smartphone-optimized design in …


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Using Record Linkage to improve matching rates of subject-generated ID-codes – A practical example from a panel study in schools

Robert Lipp, Sven Stadtmüller, Andrea Giersiefen, Christina Wacker & Andreas Klocke, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany


The paper uses data from the first three waves of the German study Health Behavior and Injuries in School Age (GUS) to demonstrate how a record linkage procedure can improve matching rates of subject-generated ID-codes (SGICs) in panel studies. This post-processing technique uses a fuzzy-string-merge to match IDs that do not fit perfectly but are very similar. Other time-constant variables in the dataset were used to verify the matches. With this technique, more than 5 percent of previously unmatched cases could be paired up.


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The Interviewer Performance Profile (IPP): A Paradata-Driven Tool for Monitoring and Managing Interviewer Performance

Heidi M. Guyer, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
Brady T. West, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Wen Chang, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


Monitoring interviewer performance during data collection is essential for ensuring optimal performance at the interviewer level, thereby leading to improved data collection parameters in areas such as effort and efficiency. Paradata are widely utilized to enhance typical measures of performance, such as response rates, and provide a more nuanced view of interviewer performance characteristics. We describe a paradata tool developed to monitor interviewer performance in real time: the Interviewer Performance Profile (IPP). Daily data updates allow for ongoing monitoring to detect areas of performance concern as well as areas of improvement over time. Additionally, the flexible nature of the IPP …


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Integrating online data collection in a household panel study: effects on second-wave participation

Marieke Voorpostel, FORS (Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences), Switzerland
Caroline Roberts, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Margarita Ghoorbin, University of Lausanne, Switzerland


Received wisdom in survey practice suggests that using web mode in the first wave of a panel study is not as effective as using interviewers. Based on data from a two-wave mode experiment for the Swiss Household Panel (SHP), this study examines how the use of online data collection in the first wave affects participation in the second wave, and if so, who is affected. The experiment compared the traditional SHP design of telephone interviewing to a mixed-mode design combining a household questionnaire by telephone with individual questionnaires by web and to a web-only design for the household and individual …


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Sequentially mixing modes in an election survey

Oliver Lipps, FORS (Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences) and University of Bern, Switzerland
Nicolas Pekari, FORS (Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences), Switzerland


In a sequential mixed mode survey, instead of offering different modes from the onset, the data collection usually starts with an inexpensive mode for the whole sample, followed by more expensive modes to attract non-respondents. In this paper, we analyze to what extent this type of design, consisting in this case of web, telephone and mail-paper modes, is able to improve representativeness in terms of socio-demographic variables and reduce bias in terms of voting behavior compared to a single mode survey. In addition, we study whether changes in mode lead to measurement error issues by focusing on income. We find …


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Shaking hands in a busy waiting room. The effects of the surveyor’s introduction and people present in the waiting room on the response rate

Yfke P. Ongena, Centre for Language and Cognition, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Marieke Haan, Department of Sociology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Thomas C. Kwee, Department of Radiology, Medical Imaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Derya Yakar, Department of Radiology, Medical Imaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands


Although waiting room surveys are frequently conducted, methodological studies on this topic are scarce. Behaviour of surveyors in waiting rooms can easily be controlled, and these surveys also allow for collection of paradata; relevant information on the circumstances of a request to participate in survey research. In this paper, we present the results of an experiment systematically manipulating surveyor’s handshakes and verbal introduction of their names. Patients scheduled for radiological examinations were approached to take part in a survey. An observer noted circumstances in the waiting room (CT or MRI) such as the number of people present. In the CT …


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