March 25, 2010
Deanna Marchetti, firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) released a special task-force review of current empirical findings related to the use of online panels for survey data collection.
This new report summarizes academic and practitioner research about online panels, including the recruitment of potential respondents, panel maintenance, post-survey adjustments and the validity and reliability of the results. This overview provides key information and basic recommendations about whether and when to use online panels and how best to judge their quality.
Virtually nonexistent just 10 years ago, spending on online research in 2009 is estimated at $2 billion, the vast majority of which was supported by online panels. While online panels are now a global phenomenon, U.S. companies have been particularly aggressive in developing techniques for building panels and using them in a wide variety of research. The report is primarily concerned with the pros and cons of online panels in the United States, evaluating them from a “total survey error” perspective.
Key conclusions and recommendations include: