Text Message Interviewing:
Data Quality, Efficiency, and Design Considerations 

Michael Schober, Professor of Psychology and Vice Provost for Research at
The New School, a university in New York City

October 17th, 12-1 pm central time


$10 for students, $40 for non-student MAPOR members, $50 for non-members

Recordings of the webinar will be available for those who cannot attend the event live. If interested, please register and you will receive a link to the recording after the event.

Register here

With the increasing adoption of text messaging for daily communication worldwide, collecting survey data using text messaging—for inviting respondents, asking questions, and recording answers—is an increasingly viable option for social researchers.  This presentation introduces the special characteristics of text messaging and the potential benefits of the mode. Text messaging gives respondents time to think carefully about their answers, consult records when necessary, and answer while they are mobile and multitasking, while experiencing greater social distance from interviewers or automated interviewing systems, potentially increasing privacy. The talk presents evidence to date from experimental studies demonstrating advantages of text message interviewing compared to voice (phone) interviewing: less satisficing, more disclosure, greater satisfaction. Conversely, potential disadvantages of this mode include increased breakoffs and longer interviews, though interview length is more than offset by the shorter contact period.

The presentation further explores factors that should be considered in designing questions and response formats for text message surveys, including designing for respondents who might not use smartphones or have high-speed network connections, whether to allow full free-text responses or only single-character responses, and how many questions are realistic to ask. It also presents current evidence on the efficiency of texting: contact time, time to complete the sample, possibility of conducting multiple text interviews simultaneously, and benefits of automated vs. human-administered texting.

Register online at https://www.mapor.org/webinars/webinar-registration/