I am spending time at the Institute for Social and Economic Research in Colchester, UK where I will work on a research project that investigates whether there is a tradeoff between nonresponse and measurement errors in panel surveys.
Survey methodologists have long believed that multiple survey errors have a common cause. For example, when a respondent is less motivated, this may result in nonresponse (in a panel study attrition), or in reduced cognitive effort during the interview, which in turn leads to measurement errors.
Some colleagues in the United Kingdom have started a half-year initiative to discuss the possibilities of conducting web surveys among the general population. Their website can be found here One aspect of their discussions focused on whether any web survey among the population should be complemented with another, secondary survey mode. This would for example enable those without Internet access to participate. Obviously, this means mixing survey modes.
This weekend is the deadline for submitting a presentation proposal to this year’s conference of the European Survey Research Association. That’s one the two major the conferences for people who love to talk about things like nonresponse bias, total survey error, and mixing survey modes.
As in previous years, it looks like the most heated debates will be on mixed-mode surveys. As survey methodologists we have been struggling to combine multiple survey modes (Internet, telephone, face-to-face, mail) in a good way.
In August, I organised a three-week summerschool with my colleagues in Utrecht on new features in MPLUS 7, the software we use to build Structural Equation Models. Video’s of all lectures can be found here. The latest issue of Psychological Methods contains background reading of Bayesian SEM, which is the main new feature of SEM. I find this fascinating stuff, and can think of hundreds of articles that could be written about replications of Maximum Likelihood based approaches.
Mode effects - the fact that respondents respond differently to a survey question, solely because of the mode of interviewing - are hard to study. This is because mode-effects interact with nonresponse effects. An Internet survey will atract different respondents than a telephone survey. Because of this, any differences that result from this survey, could be either due to differences in the type of respondents, or because of a mode effect.