New AIAS working paper: What is the gain in a probability-based online panel to provide Internet access to sampling units that did not have access before?

By Melanie Revilla, Anne Cornilleau, Anne-Sophie Cousteaux, St├ęphane Legleye, and Pablo de Pedraza



The Internet is seen as an attractive option for surveys data collection, but even if the spread of Internet continues to increase, there is still a non-coverage problem. In order to face it, one approach is to draw a probabilistic sample and then provide Internet access to the units that do not have it already. However, units without previous Internet access may not agree to participate even if provided with the necessary equipment. In this paper, we investigate what is the gain in terms of representativeness of proposing the equipment to non-Internet units in a web panel using tablets: the ELIPSS panel. We find that the number of non-Internet units accepting to participate is low. This is not only due to the fact that their response rates are lower but also to the limited proportion of non-Internet units in the French population. In addition, they also participate less in the surveys once in the panel. However, they are very different from the Internet units. Therefore, even if, because of the small number of units, the overall gain in representativeness is small, there are a few important variables (e.g. education) on which including them allows obtaining a more representative sample of the general population.

Keywords: probability-based online panel, representativeness, non-Internet units, ELIPSS panel, tablets

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