Transitioning to Online Data Collection in Social Surveys: Developments and Challenges


Bio: Gabriele Durrant is Professor in Social Statistics and Survey Methodology in the Department of Social Statistics and Demography at the University of Southampton. She is Director of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). she has extensive research experience in the analysis of nonresponse, representativeness and paradata in large-scale surveys using linked data sources and for improving survey data collection, including online data collection. She was the PI of a 3-year ESRC funded research project on ‘Data Collection for Data Quality’ (Work Package 1 of the NCRM).

Bio: Dr Olga Maslovskaya is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Social Statistics and Demography at the University of Southampton. My area of research is in Survey Research and Survey Methodology. The main fields of my interest are survey data collection, data quality in online surveys, mixed-device online surveys, transitioning to online data collection in social surveys. I am the lead of the ESRC project which funds activities of GenPopWeb2 network of academic and non-academic partners. The network addresses issues associated with transitioning of social surveys to online data collection. I am also a Co-Investigator on the ESRC project which funds the collection of the first wave of Gender and Generations Survey in the UK. I lead the workpackage which focuses on methodological developments in this new online survey.

Bio: "Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at European Social Survey (ESS) Headquarters, based at City, University of London. He leads the Questionnaire Design and Fieldwork work packages for ESS, having joined the team in November 2019. This followed 15 years at Kantar where Tim started his research career, after graduating with a BA in Geography and Sociology from the University of Sheffield. Tim’s research interests include the design/adaptation of surveys based on online/mixed-mode approaches, use of mobile devices for online surveys/mobile-optimised design, item nonresponse, video interviewing, and a range of topics relating to questionnaire design."

Bio: Gerry Nicolaas is NatCen’s Director of Methods, and Head of its Methodology & Innovation Hub. For thirty years, she has worked as a survey researcher and methodologist in government, academia, and the non-profit and commercial sectors. Throughout this time, she has focused on emerging survey methodological issues in two key areas: (1) data collection modes and (2) non-response. In more recent years, this focus has shifted to the use of online data collection, including the transformation of existing surveys from single offline modes to web-only and mixed mode including web.

Bio: "Laura is a Principal Social Researcher and the Data Collection lead for the UK Government Data Quality Hub (DQHub). Although based at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the remit of her role extends to improving the quality of all data across government. Laura is an expert qualitative researcher with over a decade’s industry experience in designing and developing official government surveys. Prior to working in DQHub, Laura led the Research and Design Team in ONS which was responsible for the transformation of its Social Surveys. There she pioneered and embedded a respondent centred approach to survey development which transformed the respondent user experience. Laura has a passion for ensuring data are collected accurately at source, and for bringing respondent needs to forefront of survey design."

Social survey data collection has undergone significant changes and innovations in recent years; particularly driven by the move to and expansion of online data collection. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a need for online working in all areas of life; and hence had a wide-ranging impact on survey data collection methods. Many social surveys considered transitioning to online data collection; however; data collection organisations faced challenges linked to this paradigm shift. This session will feature recent developments and challenges in the area of online data collection methods. The session will combine both practical and theoretical considerations. Examples of topics may include advances in online data collection; e.g. using smartphones; as well as shifts from one survey mode; in particular from face-to-face interview modes; to online or mixed modes.