Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2017

Surveys and Other Sources of Data

Linking surveys and other sources of data is not a new idea. This has been around for a long time. It's useful in many situations. For example, when respondents would have a difficult time supplying the information (for example, exact income information).

Much of the previous research on linkage has focused on either the ability to link data, possibly in a probabilistic fashion; or there have been examinations of biases associated with the willingness to consent to linkage.

It seems that new questions are emerging with the pervasiveness of data generated by devices, especially smart phones. I read an interesting article by Melanie Revilla and colleagues about trying to collect data from a tracking application that people install on their devices. They examine how the "meter" as they call the application might be incompletely covering the sample. For example, persons might have multiple devices and only install it on some of them. Or, persons might share devices and not i…

Survey Modes and Recruitment

I've been struggling with the concept of "mode preference." It's a term we use to describe the idea that respondents might have preferences for a mode and that if we can identify or predict those preferences, then we can design a better survey (i.e. by giving people their preferred mode).

In practice, I worry that people don't actually prefer modes. If you ask people what mode they might prefer, they usually say the mode in which the question is asked. In other settings, the response to that sort of question is only weakly predictive of actual behavior.

I'm not sure the distinction between stated and revealed preferences is going to advance the discussion much either. The problem is that the language builds in an assumption that people actually have a preference. Most people don't think about survey modes. Most don't consider modes abstractly in the way methodologists might. In fact, these choices are likely probabilistic functions that hinge on the…