Does the online collection of ego-centered network data reduce data quality? : an experimental comparison

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Abstract

We analyze whether differences in kind and quality of ego-centered network data are related to whether the data are collected online or offline. We report the results of two studies. In the first study respondents could choose between filling out ego-centered data through a web questionnaire and being probed about their network in a personalized interview. The second study used a design in which respondents were allocated at random to either online or offline data collection. Our results show that the data quality suffers from the online data collection and the findings indicate that this is the consequence of the respondents answering "mechanically". We conclude that network researchers should avoid to simply copy traditional network items into a web questionnaire. More research is needed about how new design elements specific for web questionnaires can motivate respondents to fill out network questions properly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Networks
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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