Concurrent, Sequential or Web-Only:
Evidence from a large-scale mixed-mode (web, paper) recruitment experiment in FReDA
Pablo Christmann, Tobias Gummer, Anne-Sophie Oehrlein & Lisa Schmid
GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts the operation process of many survey programs (Gummer 2020), among them the recruitment for the newly established panel study FReDA (Family Research and Demographic Analysis). Switching from face-to-face to self-administered mixed-modes (web, paper) for the recruitment phase has allowed us to experimentally test the effectiveness of different contact modes based on a gross sample of 108.000 register-based addresses. We investigate how different contact strategies affect the response rate, sample composition, data quality, panel consent and participation in the subsequent wave.
We implemented three different experimental conditions to which individuals were assigned randomly. FReDA deploys an invitation letter and reminders that offer either an access-link/QR-Code to the web survey (CAWI), or containing the paper-based questionnaire and an access-link/QR-Code to the web survey (CAWI/PAPI) in different sequences to contact the target population. Individuals are contacted either with
(1) a concurrent contact strategy in the sequence CAWI/PAPI, CAWI, CAWI/PAPI, or
(2) a sequential contact strategy in the sequence CAWI, CAWI, CAWI/PAPI, or
(3) a sequential contact strategy in the sequence CAWI, CAWI, CAWI, CAWI/PAPI.
By design, the third condition also allows us to compare in a quasi-experimental setting how the recruitment would have performed in a web-only mode.