Mixed-mode implementation in the EVS
One of the methodological innovations of the 5th wave of EVS is the possibility to carry out a mixed-mode data collection. Some countries will develop a self-administered Web survey (with postal follow-up in some cases) in parallel to the traditional, face-to-face survey. The mixed-mode implementation is a source of opportunities and challenges: above all, the EVS mixed-mode experiment is a unique occasion to study the measurement of values through Web surveys in a cross-cultural setup. Furthermore, we think of the future sustainability of EVS: the Web-based data collection may allow better coverage of the general population, and possibly a reduction in the costs of the survey. On the other side, the mixed-mode implementation of EVS enables investigating some problematic issues, such as the sampling procedures – which have to comply with the same requirements set for the face-to-face survey – and the adaptation of the questionnaire, which – since 1981 – has been specifically designed for face-to-face interviews.
So far, Switzerland, Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, Denmark, and Finland have chosen this path. These countries are working in close cooperation, to ensure that all the methodological requirements are met, and to find common solutions when issues emerge.
With some variation, the basic idea is to split the sample of the target population into two subgroups and randomly assign each individual to a mode (face-to-face or self-administered). Some countries, to reduce the time needed for the completion of the survey, will implement a matrix design: that means that each respondent in the self-administered mode will only receive part of the questions; the rest of the questionnaire will be sent in the second moment. The matrix solution is, from a methodological point of view, rather innovative, especially in the framework of a cross-cultural survey project such as EVS.
We hope that the EVS mixed-mode implementation will offer new insights to researchers, but most of all we hope it will make data collection more sustainable and timely, therefore enabling us to better capture attitudes, values, and beliefs of European citizens.