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Response Quality in Nonprobability and Probability-based Online Panels

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Carina Cornesse, Annelies G. Blom

In: Sociological Methods & Research 52 (2023), 2, . 879–908


Recent years have seen a growing number of studies investigating the accuracy of nonprobability online panels; however, response quality in nonprobability online panels has not yet received much attention. To fill this gap, we investigate response quality in a comprehensive study of seven nonprobability online panels and three probability-based online panels with identical fieldwork periods and questionnaires in Germany. Three response quality indicators typically associated with survey satisficing are assessed: straight-lining in grid questions, item nonresponse, and midpoint selection in visual design experiments. Our results show that there is significantly more straight-lining in the nonprobability online panels than in the probability-based online panels. However, contrary to our expectations, there is no generalizable difference between nonprobability online panels and probability-based online panels with respect to item nonresponse. Finally, neither respondents in nonprobability online panels nor respondents in probability-based online panels are significantly affected by the visual design of the midpoint of the answer scale.

Carina Cornesse

Head of SOEP Innovation Sample & Social Cohesion Panel in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Keywords: nonprobability sample, probability-based sample, online panel, satisficing, response quality

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