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“Fieldwork Monitoring Strategies for Interviewer-Administered Surveys”

January 23-24, 2019 (Mannheim, Germany)

We are pleased to announce the Symposium on “Fieldwork Monitoring Strategies for Interviewer-Administered Surveys” taking place on 23-24 January 2019 at the University of Mannheim. The symposium provides a platform for scientific exchange on various aspects of fieldwork monitoring, in particular for researchers planning to submit an article for the related Special Issue in Survey Methods: Insights from the Field (SMIF). In addition to scientific presentations, the symposium features two keynotes by James Wagner (University of Michigan) and Annette Scherpenzeel (SHARE, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging).

Fieldwork monitoring is essential during the data collection of large-scale surveys to ensure high-quality data. During the data collection period, the continuous evaluation of performance indicators such as response rates, risk of nonresponse bias (e.g., R-indicators), contact attempts, or fieldwork intensity per sampling point and interviewer, provides the possibility to detect data collection issues at an early stage and to timely react with targeted interventions to tackle these issues. In this regard, adaptive and responsive survey designs (Groves and Heeringa 2006) have received increasing attention by survey researchers.

A large variety of performance indicators and possibilities to intervene and thereby to optimize field monitoring are available (Kreuter 2013). Depending on the specific survey context, some indicators are more effective than others. Also, the optimal monitoring frequency for indicators differs depending on the specific setting. An important distinction regarding optimal fieldwork monitoring strategies is whether the survey is conducted by the research organization itself or whether a commercial survey agency is contracted to field the survey. In the latter case, some indicators might be less informative because the delivery of performance indicators is usually not done on a daily basis and field interventions need more time until they can be successfully implemented. In this Symposium, we are interested in the lessons learned when working with different fieldwork monitoring strategies in various settings. In particular, we would like to encourage best practice presentations on which performance indicators have been implemented successfully (e.g., to reduce errors described in the Total Survey Error framework) and which have been less useful.

The large variety of indicators is paralleled by a multitude of possible fieldwork measures or interventions that address specific aspects of the data collection process (e.g., change or re-training of interviewers, re-contact of soft refusals, tailored reminder letters or adjustment of incentives). Many large scale-survey programs have an abundance of experiences regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of different fieldwork monitoring strategies. Due to the often nonexperimental nature of these field activities, articles sharing this expertise are rare. The Symposium and the related Special Issue provide a platform to share this valuable knowledge. 

Day 1:




Welcome: Prof. Dr. Beatrice Rammstedt (GESIS, Head of Department Survey Design and Methodology)


Keynote I: Prof. Dr. James Wagner (University of Michigan)

Adapting Fieldwork Monitoring in an Era of Uncertainty


Coffee break with sandwiches


Lisa Calderwood (Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education, UCL); Lucy Haselden (Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education, UCL); Andrew Cleary (Ipsos Mori); Nickie Rose (Ipsos Mori); Claire Bhaumik (Ipsos Mori) and James Thom (Ipsos Mori)

Developments in fieldwork procedures and monitoring in longitudinal surveys: Case prioritisation and contact protocols on the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Michael Bergmann, Annette Scherpenzeel (Chair for the Economics of Aging, Technical University of Munich, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA), Max-Planck-Institute for Social Law and Social Policy):

Using field monitoring strategies to reduce attrition bias in a panel study: Application during data collection in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)

Tobias Schmidt, Malik Hebbat (Deutsche Bundesbank)

Fieldwork Monitoring for the „Panel on Household Finances (PHF)


Coffee break


Katharina Meitinger (Utrecht University), Sven Stadtmüller, Henning Silber (GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim) et al.

Fieldwork Monitoring in Germany: Insights from 14 Large-scale Studies

Gummer, Tobias; Christmann, Pablo; Hähnel, Sascha; Wolf, Christof (GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim)

How Fieldwork Monitoring Strategies in a Survey with Interviewer-Administered and Self-Administered Modes differ: Insights from the German EVS

Verena Halbherr (GESIS-Leibniz Institute of the Social Science, Germany and University Nürtingen-Geislingen, Germany), Joe Sakshaug (IAB Nürnberg, Germany and University of Manchester, UK)

Do more fieldwork efforts help to improve response rate and reduce the TSE?


Conference Dinner

Day 2:


Keynote II: Dr. Annette Scherpenzeel (Chair for the Economics of Aging, Technical University of Munich, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA), Max-Planck-Institute for Social Law and Social Policy)

Responsive and adaptive fieldwork designs in practice: Can we effectively reduce variation in response rates across respondent groups?


Coffee break


Oscar Castorena (Vanderbilt University), Mollie J. Cohen (University of Georgia), Noam Lupu (Vanderbilt University), and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister (Vanderbilt University)

Multi-Indicator Electronic Monitoring to Detect and Replace Deviant Data

Silke Martin, Anouk Zabal (GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim) 

Keeping a Close Eye on Interviewers and Fieldwork Progress: Monitoring Activities in PIAAC Germany Cycle 1


Lunch break


Heikki Ervasti (University of Turku, Finland) and Verena Halbherr (GESIS-Leibniz Institute of the Social Science, Germany and University Nürtingen-Geislingen, Germany), Juhani Saari (Stat Finland)

Monitoring and Refusal Conversion of Refusals

Ina Bieber (GESIS), Manuela Blumenberg (GESIS) & Johannes Blumenberg (GESIS)

Visualization and Error Detecting Strategies - Using Geospatial Data to Monitor and Optimize Face-to-Face Fieldwork


Coffee break


Ryan Hubbard, Brad Edwards (Westat)

Integrating Field Management Dashboard Alerts to Improve Data Quality

Roberto Briceno-Rosas (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences), Sarah Butt (City, University of London), Joost Kappelhof (SCP – The Netherlands Institute for Social Research)

Improving Central Monitoring of Decentralised Fieldwork Activities for Cross-national Surveys: The Case of the Fieldwork Management System in the European Social Survey


Farewell, Q&A Special Issue, End of Symposium

We invite presentations that address the following aspects:

  • discuss key performance indicators of fieldwork monitoring
  • discuss fieldwork monitoring strategies
  • discuss measures and interventions during data collection
  • discuss the applicability of responsive design strategies
  • discuss visualization and error detection strategies
  • give best practice advice based on field monitoring strategies of large-scale surveys

How to submit an abstract:

We encourage proposals from researchers from a variety of backgrounds. Abstracts (max. 500 words) or full papers should be submitted via email to symposium_fieldmonitoring(at)gesis(dot)org by 1 November 2018. Please provide the title of the (working) paper, author names, and affiliations with your abstract. You will receive acceptance notification by 15 November 2018.


Please register here. There is no registration fee.

The symposium starts on Wednesday, 23 January at 11:00 and ends on Thursday, 24 January around 16:00. 

On Wednesday evening, a conference dinner will take place. Please register for the dinner if you wish to participate. Please note that that the cost for the conference dinner must be borne by the participant.

For further questions and information, please contact symposium-fieldmonitoring(at)gesis(dot)org.