International Journal of Internet Science

A peer reviewed open access journal for empirical findings, methodology, and theory of social and behavioral science concerning the Internet and its implications for individuals, social groups, organizations, and society.

Volume 5, Issue 1 (2010)

Advice in Surveying the General Public Over the Internet
Don A. Dillman1, Ulf-Dietrich Reips2,3, Uwe Matzat4
1Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA, 2University of Deusto, Spain, 3IKERBASKQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, 4Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Summary: The advancements reported here come not from trying to fit the general public to the Internet (e.g. volunteer samples, email contacts only and payments afterwards) but instead trying to fit survey requests to people's normal lives. This approach includes adopting a mixed-mode data collection strategy that relies on mail contact to deliver incentives and an orchestrated approach to encouraging people to respond to those modes in sequence. The development of new ways of thinking about data collection practices was needed when telephone RDD methods began to replace personal interviewing in the 1970's, just as new thinking is now needed for encouraging Internet surveying in the 2010's. As a result, widespread use of the Internet for surveys of the general public now seems feasible, and the authors are eagerly looking forward to the invention of methodologies that will reduce the many difficulties in doing surveys.
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Keywords: Editorial, Internet, Web survey, Internet survey, general public, population survey, mixed-mode data collection

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