Cultural and technological change has made the web a possible and even desirable mode for complex social surveys, but the financial challenges faced by the Research Councils and the UK Government has accelerated this shift, creating an urgent need to explore both its potential and hazards for a range of studies. While some progress in carrying out large-scale complex social surveys on the web has been made, there is still no consensus about how this can best be achieved while maintaining population representativeness and preserving data quality.
To address this problem, the NCRM funded a network of methodological innovation “Web Surveys for the General Population: How, Why and When?” (also known by its acronym GenPopWeb). A key objective of the network’s activities was to review and synthesise existing knowledge about the use of web-based data collection for general population samples and to identify areas where new research is needed.
In this report, the authors provide a summary of the main issues identified by the network (chapter 2), present the key barriers to using web for surveys of the general population (chapter 3), propose a research agenda for the social science community (chapter 4), argue the case for a UK probability-based web panel (chapter 5), and conclude with recommendations for an infrastructure for enabling a transition to web platforms (chapter 6).
- Callegaro, Lozar Manfreda, Vehovar (2015): Web Survey Methodology. London: Sage
- COST action WEBDATANET
- Web Surveys for the General Population: a NCRM network
- Top blogs in WebSM database
- Standard Definitions
- AAPOR Warren J. Mitofski Innovators Award 2009 for WebSM site
- Free Web tools for researchers and students
- Courses on web survey methodology
- Comparisons of nonprobability online panels (access panels)
- Probability based panels