Notice: the WebSM website has not been updated since the beginning of 2018.

Web Survey Bibliography

Title Nonresponse and Nonresponse Bias in a Probability-Based Internet Panel
Year 2013
Access date 26.03.2013

Relevance & Research Question:
We examine the question of whether a carefully recruited, probability-based online panel can be representative of the general population and is thus suitable for social and economic research.
Methods & Data:
The German Internet Panel (GIP) is a new large-scale online panel based on a probability sample of individuals living within households in Germany. In 2012 households were approached offline, with a short face-to-face interview. Subsequently, all household members were invited to complete the bi-monthly GIP questionnaires. To minimize non-coverage bias, households without access to the internet were provided with the necessary hardware and/or a broadband internet connection.
Recruitment into the GIP consisted of various stages: the face-to-face household interview, mailed invitations to the online survey, reminder letters, a phone follow-up, and final mailed reminders.
We analyze the processes leading to participation and associated biases in the sample. The various stages of recruitment into the GIP are assessed, as well as the composition of the online sample.
The results of the recruitment phases into the GIP show that with a decent amount of effort we were able to recruit both offline and online households into the online survey. The overall achieved response rates were clearly higher than rates for probability-based phone-recruited online panels in Germany.
Furthermore, GIP respondents show different characteristics compared to respondents in other online panels, particularly with regards to their internet affinity. For example, while we typically find 2.5% of panel participants cannot view question formats programmed with JavaScript, in the GIP panel we find that approx. 20% of the respondents do not have JavaScript enabled.
Added Value:
The probability-based face-to-face recruited online panel of the GIP is the first of its kind in Germany. Thus, our evaluation of the recruiting process and the resulting sample adds value to discussion of the suitability of online surveys as the data collection instrument of the future for social and economic research, where a high-quality sample is paramount.

Access/Direct link

GOR Homepage (abstract)

Year of publication2013
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityAvailable on request