The internet offers increased opportunities for more efficient, complex and cost-effective data collection, and many see the web as the mode of data collection for the future.
However, there remains serious challenges to achieving high quality data via this medium, especially for probability-based surveys of the general population. To overcome these challenges, this work package capitalises on existing probability-based face-to-face surveys to establish a probability sample based web panel. The approach is being developed using the European Social Survey (ESS) but will be transferable to other cross-national surveys that might wish to re-contact their respondents online. WP7 has the following objectives:
- Evaluate the feasibility of establishing the first cross-national probability-based web panel using the achieved sample from existing cross-sectional surveys
- Foreground a methodology for building new and efficient web-based survey infrastructures for Europe based on state of the art procedures and technology
- Develop a blueprint for a comparative probability-based web survey
The CROss-National Online Survey Panel (CRONOS) has been piloted in three countries – the UK, Slovenia and Estonia – following up respondents to Round 8 (2016) of the European Social Survey. CRONOS fieldwork began in February 2017 and continued for 12 months.
The WP is divided into eight tasks:
Review of existing single-nation strategies
Task 7.1 involves a literature review on building online survey panels and the organisation of an advisory board of experts with relevant experience to advise on the required programme of work.
Data privacy and ethical considerations
This task explores the legal and ethical considerations which arise when storing respondents’ contact data for web follow up.
Design of recruitment and panel maintenance strategies
This task investigates and evaluates different strategies for maximising panel recruitment and interview completion and minimise attrition. Strategies are evaluated in terms of the trade-offs between costs and different sources of survey error.
Question selection and design
A key aspect of this innovative design is that it allows for collection of data more quickly than face-to-face survey programs like the ESS, EVS or the ISSP. The new system aims to be more ‘responsive’, allowing the inclusion of questions relatively quickly in relation to political and social events of European relevance. Although, a large part of the question space on the panel is reserved for substantive investigations, piloting and methodological testing are also possible.
Database system for administration of the panel
Task 7.5 focuses on developing a panel member database consisting of contact information like e-mail address, name, postal address and telephone number(s) as well as administrative data, for example which waves each panel member was invited to and eventually participated in, use of incentives etc.
Data collection platforms and survey programming
Task 7.6 establishes systems to allow panel members to complete the survey on web enabled devices (fixed PC, tablet, etc.). The impact of allowing different devices to be used has been be carefully considered in question design and visual design of the web platform.
Quality standards and assessment
Task 7.7 focuses on monitoring and evaluating quality standards in relation to question design, sample composition and panellist behaviour.
Data curation and archiving
The data collected from the web panel surveys has been made publicly available from the ESS website, meeting the same standards for data quality and user-friendliness as the ESS data in general.