Improving Survey Methods: Lessons from Recent Research, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Improving Survey Methods

Lessons from Recent Research, 1st Edition

Edited by Uwe Engel, Ben Jann, Peter Lynn, Annette Scherpenzeel, Patrick Sturgis


430 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

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This state-of-the-art volume provides insight into the recent developments in survey research. It covers topics like: survey modes and response effects, bio indicators and paradata, interviewer and survey error, mixed-mode panels, sensitive questions, conducting web surveys and access panels, coping with non-response, and handling missing data. The authors are leading scientists in the field, and discuss the latest methods and challenges with respect to these topics.

Each of the book’s eight parts starts with a brief chapter that provides an historical context along with an overview of today’s most critical survey methods. Chapters in the sections focus on research applications in practice and discuss results from field studies. As such, the book will help researchers design surveys according to today’s best practices. 

The book’s website provides additional information, statistical analyses, tables and figures. 

An indispensable reference for practicing researchers and methodologists or any professional who uses surveys in their work, this book also serves as a supplement for graduate or upper level-undergraduate courses on survey methods taught in psychology, sociology, education, economics, and business. Although the book focuses on European findings, all of the research is discussed with reference to the entire survey-methodology area, including the US. As such, the insights in this book will apply to surveys conducted around the world.


"This volume…covers a very broad range of issues related to the methodology used in surveys. …The contributing authors …[are] among the top-class scientists in their field (worldwide). …The volume will definitely have added value for survey practitioners. … With some background, this volume is certainly appropriate for any course on survey methodology. I’m looking forward to its publication. It will be exciting!"Marcel Das, CentERdata (Tilburg University), the Netherlands

"Much of the outstanding work now moving survey science forward is from European countries. This volume brings together recent work from many of the world’s best survey methodologists, ranging from coping with survey mode and nonresponse effects to designing access panels." – Don A. Dillman, Washington State University, USA

"This is an excellent, updated and instructive collection of essays in survey methodology produced by the most notable European experts on the topic. This book is highly recommended for survey methodologists and any practitioner of public opinion."Mariano Torcal, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain

"Improving Survey Methods will be a treat for survey methodologists everywhere. Written by a dream team of European researchers, the book examines important topics facing survey researchers around the world." – Roger Tourangeau, Westat, USA

"There is hardly a shortage of books on survey design. But even in such a saturated market the value of this tome (and it is a rather substantial text) is impossible to deny. And with its pan-European collection of authors, all of whom have contributed to the success of some of the largest social surveys in Europe, it is not lacking in authority… For academics and seasoned researchers keen to consolidate their understanding of all aspects of survey design, in particular (but not exclusively) those with a quantitative leaning, they are unlikely to find better." - James Lubwama, SRA Research Matters

Table of Contents

1. Improving survey methods: General Introduction U. Engel, B. Jann, P. Lynn, A. Scherpenzeel, P. Sturgis Survey modes and response effects 2. Survey modes and response effects: Overview and introduction U. Engel 3. Survey mode and mode effects E.D. De Leeuw, J.J. Hox 4. Response effects and the cognitive involvement in answering survey questions U. Engel, B. Koester 5. Telephone surveys using mobile phones B. Busse, M. Fuchs Interviewers and survey error 6. Interviewers and survey error: Overview and introduction P. Sturgis 7. Can interviewer personality, attitudes and experience explain the design effect in face-to-face surveys? G. Turner, P. Sturgis, D. Martin, C. Skinner 8. Interviewers’ falsifications in face-to-face surveys – Impact, reasons, detection and prevention N. Menolds, P. Winker, N. Storfinger, S. Bredl Asking sensitive questions 9. Asking sensitive questions: Overview and introduction B. Jann 10. A new randomizing device for the RRT using Benford’s Law: An application in an online survey A. Diekmann, M. Hoeglinger 11. Asking sensitive questions: A critical account of the Randomized Response Technique and related methods I. Krumpal, B. Jann, K. Auspurg, H. von Hermanni 12. The factorial survey as a method for measuring sensitive issues K. Auspurg, T. Hinz, S. Liebig, C. Sauer Conducting web surveys 13. Conducting web surveys: Overview and introduction L. Kaczmirek 14. Web Surveys in official statistics J. Bethlehem 15. e-Social Science perspective on survey process: Towards an integrated web questionnaire development platform V. Vehovar, A. Petrovčič, A. Slavec 16. Evaluating cross-national item equivalence with probing questions in web surveys M. Braun, D. Behr, L. Kaczmirek, W. Bandilla Conducting access panels 17. Conducting access panels: Overview and introduction U. Engel, A. Scherpenzeel 18. Response behavior in an adaptive survey design for the setting-up stage of a probability-based access panel in Germany U. Engel 19. Survey participation in a probability-based internet panel in the Netherlands A. Scherpenzeel 20. The access panel of German Official Statistics as a selection frame U. Rendtel, B. Amarov 21. Accuracy of estimates in access panel based surveys T. Enderle, R. Muennich Surveys - Expanding the horizon 22. Surveys - Expanding the horizon: Overview and introduction R. Schnell 23. Linking surveys and administrative data R. Schnell 24. Enhancing surveys with objective measurement and observe ratings R. Schnell 25. The use of paradata F. Kreuter Coping with nonresponse 26. Coping with nonresponse: Overview and introduction P. Lynn 27. Targeted response inducement strategies on longitudinal surveys P. Lynn 28. Incentive Effects A. Goeritz 29. Nonresponse in comparative studies: Enhancing response rates and detecting and minimizing nonresponse bias I. Stoop Handling missing data 30. Handling missing data: Overview and Introduction M. Spiess 31. A split questionnaire survey design for data with block structure correlation matrix S. Bahrami, C. Assmann, F. Meinfelder, S. Raessler 32. Multiple imputation of multilevel count data K. Kleinke, J. Reinecke 33. Robust multiple imputation R. de Jong, M. Spiess

About the Editors

Uwe Engel is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bremen, Germany.

Ben Jann is Associate Professor for Sociology at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Peter Lynn is Professor of Survey Methodology at the University of Essex, UK.

Annette Scherpenzeel is the cohort manager of the Consortium of Individual Development at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Patrick Sturgis is Professor of Research Methodology at the University of Southampton, UK.

About the Series

European Association of Methodology Series

The purpose of the European Association of Methodology book series is to advance the development and application of methodological and statistical research techniques in social and behavioral research. Each volume in the series presents cutting-edge methodological developments in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. Such books can be authored books, monographs, or edited volumes. Sponsored by the European Association of Methodology, the European Association of Methodology book series is open to contributions from the Behavioral, Social, Educational, Health and Economic Sciences. Proposals for volumes in the European Association of Methodology series should include the following:

  1. Title;
  2. authors/editors;
  3. a brief description of the volume's focus and intended audience;
  4. a table of contents;
  5. a timeline including planned completion date and projected length of the manuscript.

Proposals are invited from all interested authors and editors. Feel free to submit a proposal to series editor, Eldad Davidov (University of Cologne, Germany, and University of Zurich, Switzerland,
[email protected]),or by visiting the European Association of Methodology website at

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Research
PSYCHOLOGY / Research & Methodology
PSYCHOLOGY / Statistics