Modularization in an era of mobile web: Investigating the effects of cutting a survey into smaller pieces on data quality


With the rise of mobile surveys comes the need for shorter questionnaires. We investigate the modularization of an existing questionnaire in the Longitudinal Internet Study for the Social Sciences (LISS) Panel in the Netherlands. We randomly divided respondents into a normal length survey condition, a condition where the same survey was split into 3 parts, and a condition where the survey was split into 10 parts. Respondents received the parts consecutively at regular intervals over a 1-month period. We discuss response rates, data quality measures, and respondents’ evaluation of the questionnaire. Our results indicate higher start rates when the survey is cut into smaller parts but also higher dropout rates. However, the fraction of missing information is lower in the 3- and 10-part conditions. More respondents use their mobile phone for survey completion when the survey is shorter. We find fewer item missings and satisficing in shorter surveys. We find no effect on neutral and extreme responding nor on estimates of the validity of answers. People with low and high education and young and old evaluate shorter surveys better than the normal length survey.

Social Science Computer Review