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Device Usage in Web Surveys

As I have been working on a web survey, I'm following more closely the devices that people are using to complete web surveys. The results from Pew make it seem that the younger generation will move away from PCs and access the internet through portable devices like smart phones. Some of these "portable" devices have become quite large.

This trend makes sense to me. I can do many/most things from my phone. I heard on the news the other day, that 25% of Cyber Monday shopping was done with tablets and phones. But some things are easier to do with a PC. Do surveys fit into the latter group?

Peter Lugtig posted about a study he is working on that tracks the device used in waves of a panel survey. It appears that those who start on a PC, stay on a PC. But those who start on a tablet or phone are more likely to switch to a PC. He also notes that if you used a tablet or phone in an early wave, you are less likely to do the survey at all in the next wave.

I didn't read the paper (there is a link on the blog). I'm wondering about explanations. Could the experience be improved to avoid driving respondents to other devices or, worse, non-participation? Would that require formatting/design changes? Or reduction in length? If not, is it better to push respondents (in the panel context) to use a PC instead if this means getting more data (i.e. fewer persons for more waves)?

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