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On the Feasibility of Web Interviews for Cross-national Social Science Surveys: Evidence from the Generations and Gender Programme Push-to-web Experiment*

*Companion session to the live panel session on April 8th, 2021

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Which Incentive Works Best? Findings from a Push-to-Web Experiment in the GGS Context in Germany
Robert Naderi, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Almut Schumann, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Detlev Lück, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Martin Bujard, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Norbert F. Schneider, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)

Abstract: This paper investigates the benefits of different incentive strategies by presenting results from a novel push-to-web experiment, conducted 2018 in the context of the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS). Dealing with family-demography, the GGS panel study utilizes a questionnaire of approximately 60 minutes length with complex routing. While GGS utilized the CAPI mode in the past, an experimental pilot study in three countries (Germany, Croatia, Portugal) has now investigated whether GGS could move to a mixed-mode design. For this purpose, CAPI and a sequential mixed-mode (push-to-web) design, combining CAWI and CAPI, have been compared in the three country contexts. Furthermore, an additional experiment has been conducted in each country. The results presented in this paper concern the German sub-experiment where five strategies of offering incentives have been compared. The incentives were: 1) no incentive, 2) 5 Euro unconditionally pre-paid, 3) 5 Euro conditionally post-paid, 4) 5 Euro pre-paid plus 25 Euro post-paid, and 5) 30 Euro post-paid. Despite the recommendation for small unconditional incentives arising from past experiments, a GGS-specific experiment appeared needful as the GGS questionnaire is exceptionally long for CAWI mode. Hence, it seemed that a higher – and therefore eventually (partly) conditional – incentive could perform better in the particular context. Overall, the results of this paper show that response rates can clearly be increased with 5 Euro unconditionally. However, a high incentive works even better as indicated by the best performance of the combined incentive (5 + 25 Euro). Further, the generally high break-off rates can be reduced by incentives accordingly. Effects on data-quality are yet to be investigated. A rather unsatisfactorily increase is observed for the consent to store contact information for a re-contact, which is generally low in CAWI mode.

The Generations & Gender Survey: Breakoffs in a Very Long Online Survey
Susana Cabaço, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NiDi)
Tom Emery, ODISSEI, Erasmus Universiteit
Fadel, Université Catholique de Louvain

Abstract: The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) is a cross-national infrastructure which aims at understanding family and life course dynamics. In 2018, the GGP conducted a pilot study in Germany, Croatia, and Portugal to investigate whether using a web first design would be suitable for future waves. One concern with the implementation of the CAWI mode was the level of break-offs and how they were distributed across type of device given the rising prevalence of smartphones and other devices. The Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) has a long and complex structure but is also historically established and so cannot be fully adapted for web. This can introduce particular challenges to respondents using devices with smaller touchscreens.

In our analysis we will be focusing on survey paradata collected to understand the patterns in break-offs across the countries. The paradata was collected for 3,378 web interviews using Blaise 5.3 and includes information on the device and browser used. Of these, approximately 17 % of interviews broke off before the core modules of the questionnaire were completed. The central objective in this analysis is to explore to what extent break-offs and respondent behaviour were influenced by the device. The countries involved have variable rates of internet penetration and so also offer an opportunity to assess whether the role of specific devices in break-offs varied across different contexts. In all three countries the sample was stratified by urban/rural residence, allowing for comparisons across 6 distinct contexts in total. Initial findings show that despite the constraints of low internet penetration and computer literacy, the results indicate to a large extent an eagerness to participate in the study. The lessons from this work will inform future strategies to tackle high break-off rates and the anticipated uptake of various devices in populations with relatively low internet penetration.

Lessons Learnt from the GGS 2018 Three-Country Experiment for Designing a Pilot in France
Laurent Toulemon, French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED)
Milan Bouchet-Valat, INED
Ruxandra Breda-Popa, INED
Géraldine Charrance, INED
Efi Markou, INED
Gwennaëlle Brilhault, INED

Abstract: The French GGP (Generations and Gender Programme) team intends to carry out a pilot study in the autumn 2021 to prepare a new round of data collection. Based on the experiment in Croatia, Germany and Portugal, we will focus our pilot on assessing the response rate attainable in France with a “push-to-web” design (CAWI alone). We will draw the sample from a new French sampling frame based on tax data, called Fidéli (French demographic tax file on households and individuals). This file provides rich contact information on households and individuals: postal address, phone number, e-mail. Because the cost of CAPI (i.e. face-to-face) interviews in France is rather high, CATI-only designs (i.e. phone surveys) tend to be more often implemented in this country than CAPI-only ones. For this reason, instead of a CAPI reference-design as in the GGP three-country experiment, the French pilot will have CATI as reference-design. We will test a set of protocols to evaluate CAWI (web survey) versus CATI, and this will also give us feedbacks on the possibility of using CAWI in combination with CATI. We would also like to test the use of incentives in France, by adapting the German test to the French context. In particular, instead of sending money, we will probably send gifts to the respondents. We thus intend to compare several strategies, starting either with CAWI or with CATI, combined with or without incentives. Each strategy will concern a subsample of 250 to 300 individuals. The results of this pilot study will be of interest for many other French surveys that are interested to use CAWI or introduce incentives in their protocol.