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Metrics and Design Tool for Building and Evaluating Probability-Based Online Panels

Charles DiSogra
Social Science Computer Review, vol. 34 (2016), pp. 26-40


Probability-based online panels are beginning to replace traditional survey modes for existing established surveys in Europe and the United States. In light of this, current standards for panel response rate calculations are herein reviewed. To populate these panels cost-effectively, more diverse recruitment methods, such as, mail, telephone, and recruitment modules added to existing surveys are being used, either alone or in combinations. This results in panel member cohorts from different modes complicating panel response rate calculations. Also, as a panel ages with inevitable attrition, multiple cohorts result from panel refreshment and growth strategies. Formulas are presented to illustrate how to handle multiple cohorts for panel metrics. Additionally, drawing on relevant metrics used for a panel response rate, we further demonstrate a computational tool to assist planners in building a probability-based panel. This provides a means to estimate the recruitment effort required to build a panel of a predetermined size.