What happens if you offer a mobile option to your web panel? Evidence from a probability-based panel of internet users


This article reports from a pilot study that was conducted in a probability-based online panel in the Netherlands. Two parallel surveys were conducted: one in the traditional questionnaire layout of the panel and the other optimized for mobile completion with new software that uses a responsive design (optimizes the layout for the device chosen). The latter questionnaire was optimized for mobile completion, and respondents could choose whether they wanted to complete the survey on their mobile phone or on a regular desktop. Results show that a substantive number of respondents (57%) used their mobile phone for survey completion. No differences were found between mobile and desktop users with regard to break offs, item nonresponse, time to complete the survey, or response effects such as length of answers to an open-ended question and the number of responses in a check-all-that-apply question. A considerable number of respondents gave permission to record their GPS coordinates, which are helpful in defining where the survey was taken. Income, household size, and household composition were found to predict mobile completion. In addition, younger respondents, who typically form a hard-to-reach group, show higher mobile completion rates.

Social Science Computer Review, 32, 544-560