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Webinar Details

The Questionnaire Design Pitfalls of Multiple Modes

Pamela Campanelli, PhD and Gerry Nicolaas
Thursday, November 14, 2013

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About This Course:

The increasing cost of fieldwork and declining survey budgets is pushing survey practitioners to look for cheaper ways of collecting survey data. For example, this could be through encouraging a worthwhile portion of respondents to complete questionnaires by web rather than by the more traditional modes such as postal questionnaires, face-to-face and telephone interviews. However, mixing modes of data collection can reduce data comparability because people may answer questions differently depending on the mode. In this webinar, we will provide a conceptual framework for understanding the causes of these measurement differences and present a typology of questions based on the factors that cause measurement differences by mode. From our own studies in the UK, and from what is known in the literature, we will highlight some of the questionnaire design pitfalls of using multiple modes and make recommendations for improving the portability of these question types across modes. We will close the webinar with a discussion of the methods that can be applied to assess any remaining measurement differences.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the theoretical and practical difference in how respondents react to different modes of data collection.
  • Have greater awareness of specific question attributes that make certain questions less portable across modes.
  • Have greater knowledge and confidence in executing their own mixed modes questionnaires.

About the Instructors:

ImageDr. Pamela Campanelli, is a Survey Methods Consultant, Chartered Statistician and Chartered Scientist and runs her own business, The Survey Coach. She received her Ph.D. in statistics from the London School of Economics, and an M.A. in survey research methods and B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan. In the US, Pamela has worked at the University of Michigan and the Center for Survey Methods Research at the Census Bureau. In the UK, she has been Chief Research Officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and a Research Director at the Survey Methods Centre at the National Centre for Social Research, London. 

Her main interests are in the study of survey error and data quality issues, focusing on both the data collection and analysis side. In addition to her consultancy work, she regularly teaches short courses for a variety of organisations (e.g., in the UK: Centre for Applied Social Surveys, the Social Research Association, Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, the Royal Statistical Society), for government departments (e.g., Office of National Statistics UK, BFS Switzerland, Statistics South Africa), survey research companies (e.g., NatCen, Ipsos-MORI), universities (e.g. London Metropolitan University, Monash University Malaysia, Wollongong University Australia, University of Hong Kong, University of Michigan linked to the Joint Program in Survey Methodology) and other institutions (e.g., Picker Institute Europe).


ImageGerry Nicolaas, is a survey methodologist at NatCen Social Research, Britain's largest independent social research organisation located in London. Gerry brings more than 25 years of experience as a survey researcher and a survey methodologist in government (Office for National Statistics), academia (City University London, University of Manchester) and the non-profit sector (NatCen Social Research). She has worked on numerous tenders and projects for a diverse range of clients and provides advice to colleagues on all aspects of social survey design and execution including sampling, response rates and data collection modes. Her focus is on translating survey methodology into practice. Gerry has led on a number of grant-funded projects addressing emerging survey methodological issues such as mixed modes & measurement error, a network on paradata, a network on using the web to survey the general population and she was co-applicant on a project that investigated response rates & non-response bias. You can follow Gerry on Twitter for regular updates on survey methodology and related topics at @GerryNicolaas.