Inference from Non Probability Samples
Call for Presentations
Conference of SRM, ESRA and ELIPSS
Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science PO)
March 16/17 2017
Survey Research Methods (SRM), the European Survey Research
Association (ESRA) and the Étude Longitudinal par Internet Pour les
Sciences Sociales (ELIPSS) seeks presentations for a conference on
"Inference from Non-Probability Samples" in Paris, March 16/17 2017.
Keynote speeches will be held by Prof. Andrew Gelman, Columbia
University, New York, U.S.A. and Prof. Jelke Bethlehem, Institute of
Political Sciences, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Submission and presentation guidelines
- Please read the section "Inspiration" below for
a description of the kinds of contributions we are seeking.
- Email your proposal to the scientific organizers
- Submissions should include the name and affiliation of the
author, a title, and an informative abstract (200 words).
- The presentations should take no longer than 30 minutes, with
10 minutes on top of this for discussion.
- Submission deadline is December
2016. The final program will be circulated in January 2016.
In survey research, the data collected with a survey are the facts
we know, from which we want to infer certain characteristics of a
defined population (descriptive inference) or about a parameter of a
more general data generating process (causal inference). In probabilty
samples, the process that creates the observed data from the
population is well known, making descriptive inferential statements
from the observed data to the population relatively
unproblematic. While causal statements require further assumptions,
probabiliy samples ease the inference from respondents to (classes of)
human beings in general subject to assumptions being met. Probability
samples have thus always been an important criterion for the quality
of empirical research with surveys.
However, the role of probabilty samples for survey research have
come under pressure from various directions. Unit nonresponse places a
question mark on the assumption that a probabilty sample by design
remains to be a probability sample in practice. In recent years,
economics witnessed an experimental revolution that brought
an increased use of experimental designs with highly selective
research units away from the field and into computer labs, and this
experimental revolution has also reached other disciplines of the
social sciences. The technical innovation of web surveys has made the
design of survey experiments very easy in practice although the
classic distinction between internal
and external validity is still a factor in judging the worth
of such experiments for robust causal inference. While the response
rates in classic survey modes diminish, self-selected samples of
respondents are increasingly available via social networking and
specialized internet platforms.
The purpose of the conference is to discuss the possibilities of
drawing inferences from social science data without the use of
probability samples, or from probability samples with low rates of
response. What kind of research questions can be answered using
self-selected samples, and what measures can be taken to combat
selection bias? We seek presentations that criticize the use of
non-probability samples and small-scale experiments, as well as
presentations that advocate their use. Best practice examples are
welcome, as well as methodological discussions.
- Submissions will be selected by examining all of the information
in the abstract.
- Following the conference, it is planned to publish a special
issue of SRM on "inference from non-probability
samples". Presenters will be invited to submit their papers to
SRM for that purpose, but there will also be an open call for
papers for the special issue. Thus it cannot be guaranteed that
the conference papers will be published in SRM.
- The conference is open to all but the number of delegates
will be limited. ESRA members will take precedence in case of
shortage of space. More details will follow when the programme is
Participants are asked to travel with their own funding. There will
be a small conference fee to cover coffee and refreshments. There will
be also a conference dinner at additional costs.
- Nick Allum (ESRA Board)
- Ulrich Kohler (Editor of Survey Research Methods)
- Laurent Lesnard (ELIPSS)
- Survey Research
Methods is Survey Research Methods is the official peer
reviewed journal of the European Survey Research Association.
The journal publishes articles in English which discuss
methodological issues related to survey research.
- European Survey Research Association provide coordination in
the field of survey research in Europe and to foster and enhance
links between European survey researchers and their colleagues in
other parts of the world.
Longitudinal par Internet Pour les Sciences Sociales is an
online panel that is representative of the population living in