Survey operations include various aspects of data collection, for example, making choices between different survey modes while considering the related effects on the willingness of respondents to participate and on their answering behavior. It also involves developing strategies for contacting and incentivizing respondents and determining the sequence, organization and documentation of field work and field management. The aim of survey operations is to help researchers make a sound choice of the data collection strategy and assist them in optimizing it. The focus is always on reducing potential sources of error, in particularly on reducing non-response errors and measurement errors, while optimally using the available resources.
To provide information on the various modes of data collection, GESIS has published articles on face-to-face interviews, online interviews, mail surveys and panel studies as part of the GESIS Survey Guidelines. In addition, based on our own experimental studies and other sources, we have developed a guideline on the incentivization of respondents, in particular with the aim of minimizing unit non-response.