English title: Mixed Mode Data Collection in Europe

Author(s): G Eva - Sally Widdop -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2007

Abstract

Cross-national surveys face a range of obstacles to achieving reliable, comparable data and generally try to resolve this by making survey practices (sampling, question-wording, and so on) as similar as possible. For this reason, the European Social Survey (ESS) currently allows only face-to-face data collection, generally considered to be the mode that results in the highest quality data, especially for a long, large-scale, population survey such as the ESS. Yet now, partly for the same reasons that mixed mode data collection is currently becoming increasingly widespread in single-nation studies (e.g. due to declining response rates and increasing fieldwork costs, the possibility of introducing mixed modes on the ESS is being considered. However, there is currently a lack of empirical data supporting the assumption that mixed mode data collection, or simply a move away from face-to-face data collection, is desired, or indeed possible, on a survey like the ESS. For this reason, a ‘mapping exercise’ is being carried out at City University in order to get a comprehensive picture of current survey practice across Europe. Specifically, this research aims to establish the capacity and demand for mixing modes of data collection in ESS participating countries. The project consists of desk research and a consultation exercise with survey practitioners across Europe, from which we will present some preliminary findings. This paper begins by outlining the background to the research project and the methods used so far. It then describes some examples of the current use of mixed modes across Europe, looking specifically at what this tells us about the possibility of mixing modes in the ESS. We then discuss issues raised by the consultation exercise concerning why mixed mode survey designs have, or have not, been used and consider what are the key advantages, obstacles and pressures surrounding the decision to mix modes.

Conference name: 2nd ESRA Conference

Location: Prague

Start date: Jun 25, 2007

Type: Paper

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