Combining Methodologies

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A combined survey methodology includes several survey data collection methods – telephone, mail, web and face-to-face surveys. Because each of the mentioned methods has its own drawbacks and limitations, researchers are increasingly combining different approaches. The goal of combining survey methodologies is to collect data of the highest quality, while keeping costs lower than is the case with any of the individual methods.

Different methods can be combined in different research stages, in general that refers to the recruitment stage or data collection stage. In the first case, recruitment employs a different method than data collection; in the second case, the data is collected by using different methods. That for example means that different survey methodologies are used for different survey stages, different subsamples, different data collection waves in panel research, etc.

Three key reasons for combining methodologies:

  • The combined survey methodology gives the user a chance to choose the most suitable method. If respondents have the chance to choose the method (telephone, mail, face-to-face, the Web), then the probability of participating in the survey increases. In that way we achieve representative results that can be generalized to the population according to interests (e.g. according to income level, different levels of mobility, different life styles)
  • Survey research costs inter alia increase with labour costs and investments into new technologies. Telephone surveys are usually less expensive than face-to-face surveys, whereas mail surveys are less expensive than telephone surveys. Therefore, the costs of the second survey method are always lower than the costs of an individual survey method.
  • A switch between survey methods sometimes accelerates the conclusion of the survey process. For example, the number of telephone stations limits the speed of telephone surveys. In a large majority of cases the survey process can be accelerated by sending the questionnaires by mail first and then attempt to interview those that did not respond by mail or face-to-face surveys.

A combined survey methodology greatly lowers expenses, saves analysis time and increases the representability of collected data.

1KA enables the combining of data that was gathered using different survey methods. Although in its essence lies a web survey solution, it can also be used for entering data from paper questionnaires or carrying out telephone surveys. 1KA users can, that way, collect higher quality data with lower research costs.