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Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political ScienceOur research

Survey Methods in a digital age

Digitat age
Digital age

We live in a digital age with a high level use of technologies in everyday life. Surveys have also started to adopt technologies including mobile devices for data collection. There is a big move in the direction of online data collection in the UK, including the plan to collect 75% of household responses through online data collection in the UK 2021 Census.  The COVID-19 pandemic sped up the process of transitioning to online data collection as face-to-face interviews were impossible during lockdown.  However, evidence is needed to demonstrate that various aspects of the online data collection strategy will work in the UK and to understand how to make them work effectively.

Dr Olga Maslovskaya together with colleagues from Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) in UCL Professor Lisa CladerwoodNatCen Social Research Gerry Nicolaas and Office for National Statistics Laura Wilson have been awarded an ESRC grant to create a UK-based network of academic and non-academic partners including governmental departments, survey organisations, academics and major ESRC investments. Led by Dr. Maslovskaya, the GenPopWeb2 Network shares knowledge and collaborates in the area of online data collection in social surveys, setting the research agenda in the area.  The network organises events and other activities to address various issues associated with transitioning to online data collection. This network also shares learning and experiences in relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for survey research.

Recently Professor Gabriele Durrant together with Dr Olga Maslovskaya were awarded two grants to conduct work on online surveys in the UK. Olga was the PI and Gabriele and Professor Peter WF Smith were the Co-Is on an 25 months ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative grant “Understanding survey response behaviour in a digital age: Mixed-device online surveys and mobile device use”.  The main aims of this project were to study participants’ online survey choices and behaviour as a social phenomenon and to examine the data quality issues associated with this behaviour in mixed-device online surveys. This project explored differences in a range of devices used by respondents in online surveys (desktop (PC), laptop, tablet and mobile phone (smartphone)) with a special focus on mobile devices.

Professor Durrant was a Principal Investigator (PI) and Dr. Maslovskaya was a Co-Investigator (Co-I) on an 18 months NCRM Collaborative Methodological Research and Training Project (NCRM Innovation Fund) “The future of online surveys: Evaluating data quality in the UK probability-based online panel”.  They worked together with colleagues from NatCen to analyse data quality in the UK probability-based online panel. 

Professor Gabriele Durrant

Dr Olga Maslovskaya

Professor Peter WF Smith

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