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Optimizing Probing Procedures for Cross-National Web Surveys

Bearbeitung: Katharina Meitinger, Dr. Dorothée Behr
Leitung: Prof. Dr. Michael Braun; Dr. Wolfgang Bandilla; Dr. Lars Kaczmirek
Wissenschaftlicher Arbeitsbereich: Survey Design and Methodology (SDM)


The use of cognitive interviewing techniques in international survey programs in order to uncover differences in item interpretation is increasingly popular. While cognitive interviewing is traditionally conducted face-to face, the application of cognitive interview techniques in online surveys is a recent development. The predecessor project “Enhancing the Validity of Intercultural Comparative Surveys” (<link internal-link internal link in current>CICOM) tested the feasibility of asking cognitive probing questions in online panels, developed a method to use cognitive probing questions in web surveys and scrutinized the approach by applying it to substantive topics in international surveys. When the previous project came to an end, several research gaps remained.

CICOM 2 will continue the research on cognitive interviewing techniques in web surveys and optimize procedures. Three main objectives are pursued:

  1. Optimizing response quality and quantity: In spite of the overall high level of data quality achieved in the predecessor project, problems like non-response and insufficient or mismatching probe answers occurred. The new project will test the effects of motivational devices, it will follow-up on respondents, chat with respondents, and optimize the probe design to tackle these issues.
  2. Using closed items instead of probing answers: Although the previous project focused on the use of probing questions in online surveys, the study also sought to develop closed items on the basis of probe answers and assess the differential explanatory power between probe answers and closed items. CICOM 2 will continue this work.
  3. Meeting the objective “real time monitoring”: The predecessor project used items from ISSP questionnaires fielded already several years ago. CICOM 2 will be implemented simultaneously with the fielding period of the most recent ISSP surveys. This enables the project to increase the validity of results. The cross-national web surveys will be conducted in Germany (eastern/western), Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom and United States in late 2013/early 2014. Questionnaire items will come from the ISSP questionnaires Family and Changing Gender Roles as well as Citizenship and National Identity


01.02.2013 - 31.05.2016

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