Presenting at ESRA 2023 in Milan

Last week, Sample Solutions took its “paper presenting” roadshow to Milan, Italy, for the 2023 edition of the European Survey Research Association (ESRA) conference. This event was the latest stop in their series of roadshows that began in April with CSDI in Granada, Spain and continued in May with AAPOR Philadelphia. The ESRA conference, hosted at the renowned University di Bicocca, proved to be an optimal platform for experts from academia and leaders in the commercial research sector to come together and share their year-long research findings through insightful presentations, lively Question, and Answer sessions, and follow-up discussions, all while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Milan and the traditional Aperitivo at the end of each day.

The event’s main hall at the University buzzed with enthusiasm as attendees visited the first row of stands to learn about Lifepanel. While Sample Solutions had previously showcased Lifepanel at Succeet 2022 in Munich – a commercial Market research trade show, this occasion marked its debut at a social research symposium, drawing professionals from academia, government, and NGOs. It was an invaluable opportunity to gather insights from these diverse sectors, understand their expectations, and showcase the unique methodology used for panel recruitment across Europe.

Excitingly, Sample Solutions surpassed its previous record of paper presentations at the conference by having all 5 of its submissions accepted. The team, which included the usual suspects: Carsten and Nikola, also brought reinforcements in the form of Marija – their Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Account Manager and Head of Client Operations – and Nadica – the Chief Sampling Methodologist and Statistician. Each attendee played a key role in delivering data and insights from their year-long work on sampling survey research projects and the development of Lifepanel’s recruitment and sampling coverage. Let’s take a brief look at the summaries of their presentations and the valuable lessons they brought back home from this enriching conference.

Monday 17th July:
Paper #1: “Measuring the efficiency of RDD sampling in a national research study on women victims of domestic violence in Brazil” by Marija.

In this presentation, we showcased the demographic outcomes of respondents from a Randong Digit Dialing CATI survey versus a previous F2F iteration of the same study – which closely resembled the national demographics. Additionally, we explore the working rate of the screened RDD sample during fieldwork and its impact on telephone fieldwork productivity. 

Thursday 20th July:
Paper #2: “Sampling Migrants? A probability based approach using social media screening” by Carsten and Norstat’s Jacob Lagerstedt

 Here we shared the results of our collaboration with Norstat group on a quantitative survey sampling migrant populations with diverse backgrounds in the city of Stockholm. We explored the accuracy of profiling these migrant communities and compared the overall sample rates across different population groups. This study sheds light on the unique challenges and opportunities in surveying migrant populations and offers valuable insights for researchers and organizations that are studying multicultural settings. 

Paper #3: “An evaluation of RDD Sampling for Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) as a viable substitute for Face-to-Face surveys in adverse events” by Nikola.

In a joint research project with RTI International, where we provided phone sampling in several countries in Latin America, for a public health study, initially planned as a Face-to-Face (F2F) study, but later shifted to a phone survey, due to the ongoing pandemic The final conclusion reaffirmed researchers to quickly adapt to alternative modes and designs when severe events struck a certain region, nation or the entire world.

Friday 21st July:
Paper #4: “Where are my completes? Leveraging different response modes in a German online probability panel” by Nadica.

In this paper, we outlined the differences between response modes and measure the data from a push-to-web study done via Lifepanel in Germany, Malta, and North Macedonia. The results were analyzed by contact mode (SMS, Email, and WhatsApp) in each country and measuring response by certain demographics such as age group and education level. Overall alternative contact modes such as WhatsApp yield higher completion rates across younger demographics (16-29), while lesser educated populations were easier to target via SMS. Higher educated and those of age between 30-49 were equally likely to respond across SMS and Email.

Paper #5: “Comparing effectiveness in panel recruitment via piggyback on existing surveys versus direct recruitment in building an online European Probability panel” by Nikola.

From late December 2022 till February 2023, as part of Lifepanel’s probability panel recruitment, we conducted multiple campaigns using RDD sampling and CATI contacting via piggyback recontacting off of a previous National Representative survey and direct recruitment over the phone. Findings suggest overall the direct recruitment closely followed the distribution of the demographics but was multiple times costlier than the piggyback.

 Key Takeaways from ESRA 2023 Conference:

1. Survey Research Push-to-Web:

One of the main insights gained from the conference was that enforcing a universal push-to-web approach for all respondents may not always be the most efficient solution in the short term. It’s essential to move away from the notion that this method is always more cost-effective. Considering different contexts and factors is crucial in making the right decisions for survey research strategies.

2. New challenges in Establishing a European One-Stop Shop for Probability Panels: 

Creating a one-stop shop for probability panels in Europe presents significant challenges, particularly regarding quality and coverage standards. To meet these standards, adaptations will be necessary not only in panel building but also in panel management. An enlightening presentation by Femke De Keulenaer from Ipsos Knowledge Panels shed light on the developments in this area.

3. Transition from CATI to Online Probability:

Shifting from CATI probability projects to Probability-Panels online will likely introduce mode effects, with variations depending on the country. Patrick Moynihan from Pew Research Center presented data from Kantar Public that illustrated these differences. It was encouraging to witness the progress showcased by Jamie Burnett & Yves Fradier in this domain.

Bonus: Weather Woes and Exciting Future Events: 

Aside from the rich discussions, participants also encountered some unusual weather in Milan. The first four days saw scorching temperatures ranging above 35 to 40 degrees Celsius, while the last day surprised everyone with a flash thunderstorm featuring heavy rain and hail. As we look ahead, attendees can anticipate seeing Sample Solutions again at WAPOR Salzburg next month, AAPOR Atlanta in May 2024, and the next ESRA in Utrecht in July 2025. We look forward to learning from our fellow peers at the next conferences and are also eager to share our newest developments in the field of probability telephone sampling, while also sharing insights from building our own European online probability panel – Lifepanel.

Reflecting on the valuable insights gained and the engaging sessions at ESRA Milan 2023, Sample Solutions remains committed to advancing survey research sampling and contributing to the industry’s growth. Stay tuned for more exciting updates and developments from our team at these upcoming events! 

Nikola is the Key Account Manager of Sample Solutions and Lifepanel with over 5 years of sampling and survey research experience. Coming from a Business Administration background he discovered a hidden interest in understanding populations' opinions and behaviors both locally and across the globe.

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