Innovations and new technologies in panel research



How to cite

Scherpenzeel, A. (2009). Innovations and new technologies in panel research. FORS Working Paper Series, paper 2009-1. Lausanne: FORS.


Survey research via the Internet has increased significantly in recent years. Several methods are used to attempt to survey the general public by Internet, including the use of volunteer and RDD samples. However, these methods may not fulfill the demands on coverage, sampling and response posed by scientific researchers. People in volunteer samples are often a rather selective part of the general population. In addition, because of vast increase of mobile-only households and declining response
rates, RDD samples may not cover the population anymore. A newly established Internet panel in the Netherlands uses a different design. A true probability sample of households drawn from a population register by Statistics Netherlands is contacted with a household in-person interview, asking respondents to join the panel. The panel provides a computer and Internet connection to those households that could not otherwise participate (about 85% of households have internet access). This paper presents an overview of this new panel concept and evaluates whether the design would also be feasible in other countries having high Internet penetration rates, and could overcome the coverage problems of volunteer
samples. In addition, it reports the results of some experiments carried out on the use of incentives to increase the participation in the panel and on the data quality of internet data compared to telephone and face-to-face data.

Further publications

This working paper combines parts of three other publications by the same author :

Scherpenzeel, A. & Das, J.W.M. (2010). ’True’ longitudinal and probability-based internet panels : Evidence from the Netherlands. In : Das, J.W.M. ; Ester, P. ; Kaczmirek, L. (Ed.) Social and Behavioral Research and the Internet : Advances in Applied Methods and Research Strategies.

Scherpenzeel, A. & Bethlehem, J. (2010). How representative are online-panels ? Problems of coverage and selection and possible solutions. In Social Research and the Internet : Advances in applied Methods and New Research Strategies. Eds. M.Das, P.Ester & L.Kaczmirek. New York : Routlegde Academic.

Scherpenzeel, A., & Toepoel, V. (2012). Recruiting a Probability Sample for an Online Panel : Effects of Contact Mode, Incentives, and Information. Public Opinion Quarterly, 76(3), 470-490.


© the authors 2018. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)