Understanding Society - new data from the Innovation Panel offer exciting research opportunities
6 September 2012
Data from waves 3 and 4 of the Understanding Society Innovation Panel are now available to download.
The panel is principally used to test questions, procedures and methods in a context that is similar to the main Understanding Society survey and other household panel surveys, but with adults and young people from 1500 households it also has a sample size sufficiently large to enable quantitative evaluation.
Four waves of data have been collected so far, and all are now available from the Economic and Social Data Service.
The first four waves of the panel included innovative studies aiming at improving survey processes, at reducing non-response, non-response bias and attrition, and examining statistical issues for data analysis. The panel survey is developed in part through an annual competition in which academics and other interested groups can propose questions and experiments.
The data from waves 3 and 4 include results on:
- how participants' responses were affected by seeing questions on cards compared to just being asked verbally
- how advance materials and encouraging people to contact their interviewer to book an appointment affected response rates
- participants' preference between paper and computer-based surveys.
Wave 5 is currently in the field and includes the world's first testing of online vs face-to-face interviewing on an established face-to-face sample and questions to test whether participants' responses are affected by the very fact of being a survey participant.
Innovation Panel research director Annette Jäckle said: "The Innovation Panel is a unique resource for researchers, as it is both a part of one of the world's largest panel surveys, a test-bed for innovative thinking on survey methodology and a significant survey sample in its own right. We have longitudinal data and retrospective histories about people's lives before the start of the panel, but we also have experimental and methodological data, and these are also available to use in secondary research. As a researcher, I'm excited by what the panel is producing, and I hope research colleagues across the world will share my excitement and be keen to use the data from the panel as well as the main data from Understanding Society."