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Survey Guidelines

Web Probing

Web probing – that is, the implementation of probing techniques from cognitive interviewing in web surveys with the goal to assess the validity of survey items – has recently found its way into the toolbox of (cross-cultural) survey methodologists. These guidelines present the origins of web probing, its developments, the current knowledge on its implementation, analysis possibilities and tips for the implementation of web probing in the cross-cultural context. These guidelines summarize the main findings from two research projects on web probing funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Wherever possible and existing, findings from other research groups supplement this overview.

Behr, D., Meitinger, K., Braun, M., & Kaczmirek, L. (2017). Web probing – implementing probing techniques from cognitive interviewing in web surveys with the goal to assess the validity of survey questions. Mannheim, GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS – Survey Guidelines). DOI: 10.15465/gesis-sg_en_023

  • Lenzner, Timo, and Cornelia E Neuert. 2017. “Pretesting Survey Questions Via Web Probing – Does It Produce Similar Results to Face-to-Face Cognitive Interviewing?” Survey Practice 10 (4). https://doi.org/10.29115/SP-2017-0020.
  • Neuert, C. E., & Lenzner, T. (2019). Effects of the Number of Open-Ended Probing Questions on Response Quality in Cognitive Online Pretests. Social Science Computer Reviewhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0894439319866397
  • Meitinger, K., Behr, D., & Braun, M. (2019). Using Apples and Oranges to Judge Quality? Selection of Appropriate Cross-National Indicators of Response Quality in Open-Ended Questions. Social Science Computer Reviewhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0894439319859848
  • Meitinger, K., Braun, M., & Behr, D. (2018). Sequence Matters in Web Probing: the Impact of the Order of Probes on Response Quality, Motivation of Respondents, and Answer Content. Survey Research Methods12(2), 103-120. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2018.v12i2.7219
  • Meitinger, K., & Behr, D. (2016). Comparing Cognitive Interviewing and Online Probing: Do They Find Similar Results? Field Methods28(4), 363–380. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X15625866