Conference Agenda

C11: Mixed-Modes and Mixed-Devices
Friday, 08/Mar/2019:
3:30 - 4:30

Session Chair: Tobias Rettig, University of Mannheim, Germany
Location: Room 149
TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences


Coverage Error in Smartphone Surveys Across European Countries

Tobias Baier, Anke Metzler, Marek Fuchs

Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany

Relevance & Research Question:

Surveys conducted solely in the mobile Web using smartphones as the only user device (mobile Web only surveys) provide several advantages as compared to traditional non-mobile Internet or mixed-device Web surveys. They potentially offer the use of samples consisting of randomly generated mobile phone numbers and text message invitations whereas traditional online surveys relying on e-mail invitations do not allow this procedure. Furthermore, smartphones provide paradata and sensor data for passive data collection. However, coverage error is a major threat to smartphone surveys and their potential benefits as mobile Web penetration considerably differs between socio-demographic groups (Keusch et al. 2018; An-toun 2015; Couper et al. 2015; Fuchs & Busse 2009) and across countries (Fuchs & Metzler 2014). This paper aims to estimate coverage error concerning country-specific differences in their development over time with respect to smartphone penetration.

Methods & Data:

Eurobarometer data from 2014 to 2018 across 28 European countries are used to estimate the relative coverage bias using six socio-demographic variables. Bias estimates are then analyzed over time and across countries with respect to country-specific smartphone penetration rates.


All countries assessed experienced a growth in smartphone penetration. Overall, coverage bias is declining over time and approaches the coverage bias of surveys in the non-mobile, landline Internet. Some countries already feature overall lower biases for mobile Web. However, country-level analysis shows that there are both countries with decrease as well as in-crease in coverage bias. Accordingly, growth in smartphone penetration does not predict the development of coverage bias.

Added Value:

The results shall inform which European countries are more or less suitable for the use of mobile Web surveys in the general population and how these differences relate to contextual conditions.

Baier-Coverage Error in Smartphone Surveys Across European Countries-140.pdf

Data quality in mixed-mode mixed-device general population UK social survey: Evidence from the Understanding Society Wave 8

Olga Maslovskaya, Gabriele Durrant, Peter WF Smith

University of Southampton, United Kingdom

Relevance & Research Question: We live in a digital age with high level of use of technologies. Surveys have started adopting technologies including smartphones for data collection. There is a move towards online data collection in the UK, including an ambition to collect 75% of household responses online in the UK 2021 Census. However, more evidence is needed to demonstrate that the online data collection will work in the UK and to understand how to make it work effectively. This paper uses the first available in the UK large scale mixed-mode and mixed-device social survey Understanding Society Wave 8 where 40% of the sample were assigned to online mode of data collection. It will allow comparison of data quality between face-to-face and online modes of data collection as well as between different devices within the online mode. This analysis is very timely and will fill this gap in knowledge.

Methods & Data: This analysis uses the main survey of the Understanding Society Wave 8. Descriptive analysis and then linear, logistic or multinomial logistic regressions are used depending on the outcome variables to study data quality indicators associated with different modes first and then with different devices in the online part of the survey. The following data quality indicators will be assessed: break-off rates, item nonresponse, response style indicators, response latencies and consent to data linkage.

Results: The detailed results will be available in mid-January 2019. Comparisons to results from the Understanding Society Innovation Panel and to results from other countries will be drawn.

Added Value: The originality of the analysis lies in addressing the underresearched area of data quality issues associated with different devices in mixed-mode and mixed-device surveys in the UK. The findings from this analysis will be instrumental to better understanding of data quality issues associated with mixed-mode and mixed-device surveys more generally and, specifically, in informing best practice for the next UK Census 2021. The results can help improving the design of the surveys and response rates as well as reducing survey costs and efforts.

Survey recruitment in 160 characters: Composition and Quality of a new mobile sampling strategy

Hannah Bucher, Matthias Sand

GESIS, Germany

Relevance & Research Question:

The strongly increasing number of people who own a mobile device with internet access implements new developments into web-survey-research. This increasing rate also has an impact on the devices used to complete a web-survey. Further, some studies investigate differences in demographics of the respondents associated with the used device, therefore it seems interesting to examine the possibilities of recruiting survey units via mobile phones.

Methods & Data:

As previous studies either used mobile phones as a separate sampling frame for CATI-surveys or used text messages to invite participants of an access panel to take part in specific web-surveys, we combined these approaches and investigate a new survey-sampling approach for web-surveys: The recruitment of people for a Web-Survey via a mobile RDD-mobile phone sampling with an invitation via text message.


Preliminary results indicate that this sampling method is not very suitable for questioning the broad population, due to problems occurring at different levels:

On the one hand, considerable technical problems arose in the process of verifying automatically generated mobile phone numbers (HRL-lookup). On the other hand, less than one percent of the sent text messages lead to an actual interview.

Added value:

Our research is the first to investigate a new probabilistic recruitment strategy for mobile web surveys. Therefore, it contributes substantively to the exploration of new survey recruitment strategies to replace or complement existing recruitment strategies that increased in costs such as face to face surveys or decrease in quality such as telephone surveys.