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How should we present ‘Don’t Know’ options in web-surveys?




Tim Hanson, Kantar Public UK
Bernard Steen, NatCen
James Thom, Ipsos MORI

Event Series:
City-ESS HQ-NatCen survey methodology seminar series

An important decision for all web surveys is whether and how to include a ‘Don’t Know’ (DK) option. Including a DK option may increase the amount of ‘missing’ data and lead to satisficing, but not including one may force those who genuinely do not know to give a false answer. In this seminar we will explore this challenge in detail, discussing a range of potential solutions and presenting the results of three experiments carried out by NatCen, Kantar and Ipsos into how best to present DK options in web surveys.

Tim Hanson is a Director at Kantar Public UK and has over 15 years’ experience in designing and managing social surveys. Tim has a particular interest in questionnaire design and has worked with numerous government clients in developing survey questionnaires. He has led several questionnaire development, cognitive and usability testing projects and has conducted a number of experiments to inform questionnaire design. He has delivered papers on questionnaire design and other topics at a range of conferences, including the 2016 Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluation and Testing Conference, and the 2017 and 2019 European Survey Research Association Conferences.

Bernard Steen is a Senior Researcher in the Longitudinal Surveys Team at NatCen. He has run methodological experiments on the NatCen Panel - Britain’s first open probability-based panel - to improve questionnaire design, the results of which have been presented at the 2019 General Online Research Conference and the 2019 European Survey Research Association Conference.

James Thom is an Associate Director at Ipsos MORI, where for the last two years he has managed large-scale random-probability surveys for government and academic clients, following a move from academia. He is keenly interested in non-response bias at both the survey and question level and is leading development of empirical work in this area.  He presented the first results of this work at the 2019 European Survey Research Association conference in Zagreb.

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When and where

5.45pm - 7.15pmThursday 17th October 2019

C309 Tait Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom