Relevance & Research: Even with a growing number of Internet users in Germany, a substantial proportion of respondents with Internet access still chose to participate in the mail mode, when given a choice. We know little about the characteristics of those reluctant respondents, as most survey designs do not allow to measure potential predictors of the mode choice process before individuals make a decision. This study aims to fill this gap by investigating which personal characteristics of respondents in a mixed-mode panel are related to their willingness to respond via the web mode.
Methods & Data: We use data from multiple waves of the GESIS Panel, a probability-based mixed-mode panel in Germany (N=5,700). In October/November 2018, a web-push intervention motivated around 20 percent of 1,896 panelists previously using the mail mode to complete the survey via the web mode. We measured potential predictors of mode choice in waves before the intervention. These predictors include indicators of web-skills, web usage, attitudes to the Internet, and privacy concerns. Our study design allows us to investigate how those predictors are associated with mode choice of panelists who switched to the web and those who refused to do so.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that web-skills and web usage are important predictors of mode choice. In contrast, general privacy concerns do not seem to affect the decision to respond via the web mode, but attitudes towards the Internet do.
Added Value: This study will provide new insights into how the characteristics of respondents predict their decision to participate in web surveys. Learning more about the mode choice process and response propensities of web surveys is important to develop effective web-push methods for cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.