UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Mixed Modes and Measurement Error, 2009

Title details

SN: 7515
Title: Mixed Modes and Measurement Error, 2009
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-7515-1
Depositor: NatCen Social Research
Principal investigator(s): NatCen Social Research
Sponsor(s): NatCen Social Research


The citation for this study is:

NatCen Social Research. (2014). Mixed Modes and Measurement Error, 2009. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 7515,

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Subject Categories

Reference sources - Reference and instructional resources
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The aim of the Mixed Modes and Measurement Error study was to increase our understanding about the causes and consequences of mixing modes in order to improve survey research quality, and to provide practical advice on how to improve portability of questions across modes, in particular to answer the following questions: which mode combinations are likely to produce comparable responses? And which types of questions are more susceptible to mode effects? The project ran from 2007-2011, with data collection taking place in 2009.

Increasing pressures of falling response rates and rising costs of survey operations have led many to explore the potential benefits of combining different modes of survey data collection, such as face-to-interviewing, telephone interviewing, postal surveys and web surveys. The drawback of using more than one mode is that the data may not be comparable if people give different answers depending on the mode of data collection. There is a need for practical advice to inform decisions about when and how to mix modes, since survey designers are making these decisions in an ad hoc manner, driven by considerations of costs and response rates, but often ignoring the potential impact on data comparability.

Constructing the sample
The samples for the mixed mode experiment consisted of respondents from two previous surveys who had agreed to be re-contacted:
1. The NatCen Omnibus survey (not currently held at the UK Data Archive; two rounds of data collection administered in July/August 2008 and September/October 2008. The NatCen Omnibus survey is based on a probability sample of adults aged 16 and over in Great Britain, whereby clients are able to buy questionnaire space on topical issues. The survey is administered quarterly to a fresh sample of respondents and 1,600 interviews are administered face-to-face using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview).
2. The British Household Panel Study (BHPS) (held at the Archive under SN 5151); a sub-sample of Wave 18 respondents (surveyed September-December 2008). The BHPS has become part of the UK Household Longitudinal Survey now known as 'Understanding Society'. It is managed by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Its main objective is to further understanding of social and economic change at the individual and household level in Britain and the UK. It is based on an original probability sample of 5,000 households in Great Britain in 1991. Individuals from these households have continued to be followed annually ever since, and are therefore seasoned panel members. The interviews are conducted face-to-face using CAPI.

Main Topics:
The main purpose of data collection was methodological rather than substantive. It was essential that the survey should cover the full range of question types relevant to the hypotheses being tested (e.g. difficult versus easy questions, long response lists versus short response lists, branching, code all that apply questions, agree/disagree scales as well as other rating scales, fully labelled versus end labelled scales). Wherever possible, existing questions from other surveys were included in the questionnaire covering a range of topics such as management of personal finances, personal health, national identity, views about Great Britain (e.g. democracy, standard of living and economy), and views about their neighbourhood.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: January 2009 - July 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Spatial units: No spatial unit
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
NatCen Omnibus survey and BHPS respondents sampled in 2009.
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Sampling procedures: Note that data were collected from respondents from two previous surveys based on multi-stage stratified samples.
Number of units: NatCen Omnibus: 1,138 cases. BHPS: 866 cases.
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview; Telephone interview
Web-based questionnaire
Weighting: No weighting variables - see documentation for details of modelling to reduce non-response bias.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 19 June 2014
Copyright: Copyright NatCen Social Research
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions for further information.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Study User Guide 7515_userguide.pdf 185
Study User Guide Appendices 7515_userguide_appendices.pdf 971
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_7515_Information.htm 20
READ File read7515.htm 10
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