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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Information-communication technologies and transformation of survey research in social sciences

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   

Code Science Field
S274  Social sciences  Research methodology in science 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
Keywords
Social science methodology, web surveys, mixed modes, Internet data collection, research methods, panel, artificial intelligence.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  30704  PhD Jernej Berzelak  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2011 - 2014  124 
2.  08952  PhD Damjan Bojadžiev  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  78 
3.  22278  PhD Janez Brank  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  99 
4.  34789  PhD Gregor Čehovin  Sociology  Researcher  2014  53 
5.  31339  Tina Dolenc  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014 
6.  31695  PhD May Doušak  Sociology  Technical associate  2011 - 2012  88 
7.  17137  Marko Grobelnik  Computer science and informatics  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  444 
8.  32504  Mitja Kuščer  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2013 
9.  17913  PhD Katja Lozar Manfreda  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  181 
10.  12570  PhD Dunja Mladenić  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  667 
11.  31303  Andreja Pestotnik  Sociology  Researcher  2012 
12.  27574  PhD Andraž Petrovčič  Sociology  Researcher  2014  297 
13.  21346  Maja Škrjanc  Computer science and informatics  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  44 
14.  19505  PhD Damjan Škulj  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  157 
15.  10155  PhD Vasja Vehovar  Sociology  Head  2011 - 2014  844 
16.  36855  Mira Vončina    Technical associate  2014 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,936 
2.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,366 
Abstract
In its short history, survey research has become an essential part of modern social science research and has expanded into numerous directions: survey sampling, cognitive aspects, validity/reliability of measurements, non-response, missing data etc. It has continuously been modified in response to social change, and particularly in regard to the dynamics of information-communication technologies (ICT). The rise of the Internet has been a critical influence, transforming modern survey techniques and guiding towards ICT controlled processes featuring people-less and paper-less data collection.   The proposed project will explore the potential of ICT to further transform the scientific survey process in social science as follows:   1. The potentials and impact of ICT integration on optimizing questionnaire preparation (e.g. real-time automated questionnaire testing and evaluation) and questionnaire response process (e.g. real-time complex response quality controls). Meta-analysis of past surveys and current data (meta and para data) will be combined with artificial intelligence methods, data mining and machine learning to explore the potential for improving the survey process.   2. Exploring the integration of computer-assisted questionnaires into modern communication devices (mobile phones, internet protocol television), together with the potential to develop standardised, automated solutions for different survey modes/devices.   3. Establishing a prototype national representative panel of survey respondents by integrating ICT into an optimal combination of survey modes. Within this context, the simultaneous study of related issues (non-response, mixed modes, cost optimization) will be also conducted.   The research team at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, consists of global pioneers (since 1996) in the field of web survey methodology. The team has been recognized by the central website devoted to web survey methodology (WebSM.org), rewards, invited/plenary lectures, publications and coordination of an EU research framework project. The collaborating Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Institute Jožef Stefan is also one of the leaders in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data mining. The proposed project will allow the Slovenian team to conduct its own empirical studies, enabling it to strengthen its position in the international scientific community by contributing critical new knowledge with global implications.   The project will cooperate closely with leading institutions in this field, in particular with the most prominent academic survey panels in Europe (CenterData, Netherlands) and US (Stanford University). The project team will also continuously network with frontiers of research due to the synergies with leading European projects in which the proposed team plays an active role. These include the European Social Survey, COST action (IS1004) WEBDATANET and the Internet survey methodology workshop.   The results will be of a particular relevance to Slovenia due to the national representative survey panel prototype which will incorporate ICT solutions in the most optimal manner. This panel will place Slovenia among the most advanced countries as regards modern survey research. At the same time, radical change of scientific survey process in Slovenia can be achieved by establishing the panel as a permanent research infrastructure which will enable high quality and cost-effective surveys.   A by-product of the project will be an upgrade of the open-source web tool for surveying, 1KA.si (1CS.si), which is already being used by Slovenian academic and official survey researchers (such as the National Health Institute and the Statistical Office) and other domestic and foreign users. Some results may also be incorporated into potential new business projects such as spin-off companies.
Significance for science
The results of the project have contributed to important findings in the field of web survey methodology and survey methodology in general. The project addressed actual problems of web surveys. Contributions are derived from the project proposal and are as follows: • The project addresses a comprehensive approach to integration of ICT in the survey process in the social sciences. Within this context, web surveys were considered in broader context: in the use of online forums; relations to the cost, and the integration with other survey modes (eg. telephone). • Advanced algorithms to support the preparation of questionnaires and intelligent systems of quality control in the process of data collection were developed, which sets new milestones in research of quality of surveys in the broader context. • An important step towards an integrated system of survey process, based on a comprehensive and centralized processing, was made, which will increasingly reduce the cost of web surveys, and at the same time increase the data quality. • For the first time the indicators of breakoffs and completeness of the filled in questionnaires in web surveys were systematically defined and elaborated. • An important contribution is the identification of the interventions and the standards for conducting web surveys on mobile devices. The survey on the mobile device must take into consideration certain principles of adaptation (responsive design). • The project provides preliminary insight into the feasibility of establishing a web panel in Slovenia. As expected, preliminary level of motivation is relatively low, so we can expect response rates below 20%. • The project results are systematically and comprehensively presented in the monograph Web Survey Methodology (2015), for which it could be said that it is actually the first scientific work that has addressed all aspects of the process of web surveys. • The project has further strengthened the position of the website WebSM, which is the main source of global scientific infrastructure in this area.
Significance for the country
The project - in addition to the global objectives of scientific excellence - also clearly highlights the national component, relevant for Slovenia. The first aspect is generally increasing recognition of the Slovenian science: • The research team, which works in the field of web surveys since 1996, has gained with this project additional recognition. Therefore it represents – which in the social sciences and sociology is not so often the case – a Slovenian research group, that is in this area one of the global leaders. • The results can be placed within the broader context of the projects of Faculty of Social Sciences, where they play an important complementary role. Primarily we refer to synergy and corresponding role of Slovenian researchers in the European Social Survey (ESS), the COST Action WEBDATANET and in the activities of Internet Survey Workshop. The results are also included in many of the social science projects which use web surveying. • The results additionally increase the visibility - and Slovenian location – of the central site for this scientific field: WebSM (Web Survey Methodology - http://websm.org). On the other hand, the results bring significant improvements to optimize the cost and quality of web survey data collection to the Slovenian users in the public and private sector. The inclusion of prototype solutions in open source application 1KA further enables unrestricted and broad access. The application has more than 20,000 registered users and annually supports the completition of more than one million web questionnaires. Besides the services at the site www.1ka.si, which is being migrated to ARNES public cloud, own installations of open source applications 1KA are also increasing. However we do not have more insight into the scope of the corresponding users. Benefits for end users are very obvious. On the one hand, Slovenian users save considerable resources, benefits of this free and open source tool. On the other hand, very advanced methodological solutions are at their disposal. The application enables integration into any general tool (CMS, CRM, etc.), currently, integration to Word Press is in progress. The application is also suitable and open to a certain approach to its marketing exploitation. The research group itself does not have direct ambitions due to academic profile.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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