Course 6: Mixed-Mode and Mixed-Device Surveys

Lecturers: Dr. Vera Toepoel, Prof. Dr. Edith de Leeuw, Dr. Thomas Klausch

Date: 13-17 August 2018
Time: 11:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00

Short Course Description:

In this course, we give an overview of how to design, implement and evaluate mixed-mode and mixed-device surveys. Currently, a large variety of data modes such as telephone interview, personal interview, mail or web survey are available for social surveys. Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes it is straightforward to determine the best mode of data collection; oftentimes, however, the situation is complex and one single mode will not suffice. Therefore, multiple or mixed modes of data collection have become more and more popular. A particular problem of online surveys is that researchers do not know in advance on what device the respondent is going to complete an online survey – regular desktop PCs, tablets, or mobile phones. Each device introduces some kind of selection and measurement bias that needs to be taken into account.

In the first part of the course, we address the major variants of mixed-mode data collection designs, issues in mixed-mode and mixed-device questionnaire design and management of mixed-mode projects. In the second part, we introduce students to analysis of mixed-mode surveys focusing on methods for estimating and adjusting measurement and selection effects. The objective is to provide the participants with a sound background on mixed-mode and mixed-device methodology, as well as on the implications of mixing modes for questionnaire design, total survey error, logistics and data analysis. The format of the course is interactive, combining short lectures with activities as well as possible applications to participants' own research examples and projects. In addition to in-class hours, participants will work on assignments in small groups and each day of the course will start with a discussion of these assignments. Participants can bring in their own projects or issues associated with mixed-mode surveys. They can submit a short summary (max. 2 pages) of their research to the instructors by July 14.

Course Prerequisites:

  • participants should have basic knowledge about survey methodology and statistics (e.g. analysis of variance and regression analyses);
  • participants can submit a two-page summary of their current research project to the instructors before July 14th 2018.

Target Group:

Participants will find the course useful if they:

  • are considering doing mixed-mode research in the future and would like to find out whether this would be a suitable approach;
  • are planning to use mixed-mode in their research and would like some input on how to do this;
  • have used mixed-mode in their research and would like some feedback;
  • think about adding another mode to their web survey to improve data quality, e.g. representativeness;
  • have concerns with mixed-device surveys, e.g. the fact that respondents to web surveys can complete their surveys on different devices (desktop, tablet, mobile phone);
  • are interested in mobile surveys (surveys conducted via mobile phones);
  • have started on mixed-mode research and are unsure about their data analysis or other elements.

Course and Learning Objectives:

By the end of the course participants will:

  • be familiar with the current discussion surrounding mixed-mode/device surveys;
  • be familiar with common reasons underlying the choice of mixed-mode research;
  • have gained an overview of different mixed-mode designs and strategies for mixing;
  • know the advantages and disadvantages of different modes;
  • be able to select suitable design elements for their own research;
  • be able to analyse mixed-mode/device surveys;
  • be able to make an informed judgment about mixed-mode or mixed-device surveys.

Organizational Structure of the Course:

The course is structured around 4 hours of classroom instruction (9:00-13:00) and 2 hours of (group) work in the afternoon. Within the 2 hours of (group) work, we expect the participants to apply learned material in their own projects or provided assignments (practical exercises), which they will be asked to present on the next day. The assignment will be implemented in groups. Participants who wish to profit from work on their examples during the course are therefore asked to submit a 2-page summary of their research to the instructors by July 14. The group work on these projects is an important part of the course where participants can reflect upon and apply the learned material to a concrete research problem. We therefore expect all of the participants to take part in these 2 hours of group work outside of the lecture (regardless whether their own project was selected for the group activity or not). If for some reason a participant cannot take part in this group activity, they are required to inform the instructors before the beginning of the course.

All the participants will have an opportunity to consult the instructors individually within the mentioned 2 hours or by appointment, either for help with the assignments or for advice on their research projects. The room for individual consultations will be announced in class.

Software and Hardware Requirements:

Course participants will need to bring a laptop computer with an installed web browser for performing the practical exercises for this course. In addition, this course takes place in a computer lab. GESIS will provide participants with access to the statistical software packages used in the course (mainly SPSS) as well as other packages (e.g., R, Stata, Mplus).