Under the SERISS award ESS ERIC demonstrated ‘proof of concept’ that a web panel could be successfully established by recruiting respondents from a face-to-face survey that had itself been recruited from a probability sample. Initial evidence from the SERISS project shows that around 80% of ESS respondents agreed to join a web panel leading to final response rate in line with other probability based web surveys. Initial analysis also suggests that representativeness is comparable to the ESS, with slightly higher representativeness in some items and slightly lower in others, in comparison to general population estimates from other data sources. This will enable ESS ERIC to provide a significant additional return on the investment to its face-to-face survey; also, it will prepare the ESS infrastructure to, eventually, administer part of their main data collection through cross-national web surveys, given that web surveys have become more frequent across a range of research disciplines. If, as currently foreseen by many in the research community, web surveys become the primary mode of data collection in the forthcoming years ESS ERIC needs to be fully prepared for this for the infrastructure to be sustainable.
Whilst under the SERISS grant the primary focus of the web panel was on methodological experimentation in a small subset of ESS countries, in this second implementation phase we will focus on the provision of substantive data and testing the scalability of the project.: We will test the implementation of a web panel across a much larger and more diverse range of countries and open up the panel to researchers with substantive interests through an open competition for questionnaire space. This will provide the wider research community with a rich and novel source of high-quality substantive data.