Anyone still offline? Digital inequality and offline population inclusion strategies for panel survey studies – Evidence from Germany.ISER External Seminars

Like many countries across the world, Germany can increasingly be described as a digital society, in which people regularly use the internet in their everyday lives, for example for shopping, working, communicating, and entertainment. However, internet usage skills as well as the availability and quality of internet access are unequally distributed across the country, thus systematically restricting some people’s possibilities of engagement. This digital inequality, which is often referred to as the “digital divide”, affects the whole country, including its survey landscape, which is shifting more and more away from interviewer-administered survey modes towards the online mode of data collection. This trend promises a number of benefits, such as cost-efficient data collection and speedy availability of large amounts of survey data. Some groups of the population may even have a higher response propensity online, for example because they can nowadays conveniently fill out a survey on their train commute or while waiting in line at the supermarket. However, other subgroups may be left behind by this development. How can we balance the promises and pitfalls of the online survey data collection mode for social research? Which consequences can it have if we fail to successfully account for the digital divide? And will the problem solve itself over time with increasing levels of digitalization? In my presentation, I will provide a survey methodological overview of experimental and observational evidence on the impact of different offline population inclusion strategies across three panel survey studies and ten years of survey data collection in Germany. I will emphasize the importance of contextualizing methodological evidence with a country’s past, present, and future state of digitalization and derive suggestions for the future of survey data collection.

Presented by:

Dr Carina Cornesse, DIW Berlin

Date & time:

26 Apr 2023 12:30 pm - 26 Apr 2023 13:30 pm


SSRC416 (2N2.4.16)

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