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Webinar Details

Leveraging SMS for Survey Research

Jenny Marlar, M.S. And Matt Hoover, Ph.D
Thursday, June 20, 2019
12:00 Noon Central Time

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About This Course:

Text messaging is near ubiquitous in the U.S - most adults now own a cell phone, and a majority report that they check it on a regular basis for messages and other alerts. Research has also shown that text messages are significantly more likely than emails to be opened and to be opened quickly. Internationally, the use of text messaging is rapidly expanding, and Gallup research has found that in over 130 countries, the majorities of households now own a cellphone. With the widespread adoption of text messaging (SMS), how can researchers leverage this technology for reaching respondents and improving survey participation? This webinar will begin by summarizing the existing knowledge on SMS for survey research and discuss the strengths and weakness of SMS for data collection through the lens of total survey error. We will review the challenges and limitations of integrating text messaging into a research design and highlight areas of opportunity. Finally, we will walk through the steps for implementing SMS into communications and data collection.

Webinar Level:


Learning Objectives:   

  • Discuss how and when SMS can be integrated into data collection
  • Discuss the strengths and weakness of SMS
  • Go over the practical steps for implementing SMS into data collection

About the Instructors:

Jenny Marlar
 is a Senior Methodologist at Gallup and the Director of Research for the Gallup Panel. Jenny provides survey methodology consulting for private and public sector clients and specializes in self-administered questionnaire design and the implementation of mail, web, and mixed-mode surveys. Her work often includes targeting low incidence or hard to reach populations and developing strategies to improve participation. Jenny is the lead researcher on Gallup initiatives exploring new technologies for data collection, such as text messaging and mobile applications. Jenny completed an M.S. in Survey Research and Methodology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and is a Ph.D. candidate in Survey Research and Methodology at UNL.


Matthew Hoover is a senior data scientist on Gallup's data science, strategy and analytics team. Dr. Hoover provides technical direction across Gallup's data science work with both government and enterprise clients. In addition to developing technical strategy on complex analytics projects, Dr. Hoover provides mentorship to the team’s data scientists and data engineers. His expertise is in econometric modeling, forecasting and prediction using machine learning, text analytics, network analysis and process automation. Dr. Hoover received his Ph.D. in public policy with a focus on social network analysis and statistical methods from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He received master's degrees in international affairs and public health, both from Columbia University and a bachelor's in accounting with honors from Michigan State University.