2019 Volume 69 Issue 12 Pages 74-82
The 8th ESRA (European Survey Research Association) Conference was held in Croatia in July 2019, which staged 220 sessions on survey research. Among them, this article focuses on the latest cases of European countries that attempt to shift their survey methods based on probability sampling from conventional ones such as face-to-face interview survey to web surveys. First, the paper reports the case of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of the United Kingdom. ONS presented the results of experimental surveys that spanned as many as nine years, with a goal of shift to a mixed-mode survey combining web and face-to-face interview. Regarding this shift as a “transformation,” ONS not only tried to change the methods but also reviewed the survey as a whole from scratch, including questionnaires and survey materials so that self-completed web surveys could also maintain the high quality of data. As a result, the experimental survey yielded relatively higher response rates than before, but some challenges were found including the young generation and certain regions which show limited effects of the new method. Meanwhile GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences of Germany conducted an experimental survey to compare a mixed-mode (web and mail) survey and a face-to-face interview survey as they had raised a question whether a mixed-mode (web and mail) survey can substitute a face-to-face interview survey. The result found a largely improved response rate and little difference in the sample composition and the answer results as a whole. Discussion on the best practice of survey methodology involved many participants. It shows how researchers, regardless of nationality, age, and career, were tackling common issues such as what is the optimum method for data collection. Participants brushed up their research and studies as they received feedbacks from others—ESRA provides such an atmosphere, which the author found a notable aspect of the conference.