On the Relative Advantage of Mixed-Mode versus Single-Mode Surveys

Jorre Vannieuwenhuyze


Survey researchers increasingly use mixed-mode surveys for general population data collection because mixed-mode surveys are argued to provide lower selection error at constant budgets or lower variable costs at constant selection error. Nevertheless, the advantage of lower selection error and variable costs might be counteracted by higher measurement error and by higher fixed costs. This trade-off between selection error, measurement error, variable costs and fixed costs has hardly been studied within the existing literature about mixed-mode surveys. This paper discusses a possible procedure for evaluating this trade-off by comparing the performance (mean squared error) of mixed-mode survey designs against single-mode survey designs. The procedure is further illustrated by real example data stemming from a mixed-mode mail---face-to-face survey. This illustration yields smaller errors for single-mode designs under low budgets but smaller errors for mixed-mode designs under large budgets or, alternatively, a budgetary advantage of single-mode designs when the allowed error is relatively high but a budgetary advantage of mixed-mode designs when the allowed error is relatively small. However, the validity of these results depend on several modelling assumptions which may be topics for future research.


Mixed-mode surveys, Single-mode surveys, Mean Squared Error, Survey Design, Survey Budget, Survey Costs

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18148/srm/2014.v8i1.5500

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