The European Social Survey (ESS) is a biennial, large scale, cross-national general social survey that has been conducted using in-home face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of the general population since 2002.
ESS face-to-face interviewing was paused in all countries in late 2020 following rising COVID-19 infection levels and increased government restrictions. Whilst it is hoped fieldwork might restart in 2021, there remains considerable uncertainty if face-to-face interviewing will be possible in all ESS countries in the short term.
In response to this the ESS has launched a push to web survey in three countries where there is little experience to date of using such an approach.
Whilst push to web surveys are fairly common in countries with named person samples (e.g. Norway, Netherlands) or well developed survey infrastructures (e.g. UK), there are parts of Europe where push to web surveys and other self-completion are rarely, if ever, used for the general population.
This presentation will outline the design approach being used in Hungary (which uses an individual named sample but where there is limited experience in this method) and Austria and Serbia (which use address samples and require within household selection).
In the countries using address samples the online questionnaire was checked against the household roster to see if the target person had completed the survey and, if not, the target respondent was also invited using a novel approach.
Once respondents had been offered the chance to complete the survey online, a paper self-completion was offered to non-respondents.
The presentation will summarise the effectiveness of the experiment in terms of cooperation, demographics, representativeness and data quality. The particular design issues of conducting such a survey cross-nationally will also be discussed.
About the speaker
Rory Fitzgerald is Director of the European Social Survey European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC) based at City, University of London. In November 2013, the UK and 14 other European governments established the ESS as an ERIC – an independent international research organisation. ESS ERIC now has 25 Members and one Observer.
ESS ERIC organises biennial social surveys in its member countries tackling key socio-economic and political issues. There are more than 170,000 registered users of the ESS data who published almost 5,500 academic articles using the data, which is freely available to anyone online.
Fitzgerald is currently specialising in self-completion and panel methods in cross-national social surveys as well as questionnaire design and pre-testing. Fitzgerald is Professor of practice in survey research at City, a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and an Associate Editor of the journal Survey Research Methods.