Briefing paper

Approach to transformation

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Online survey on a laptop

Any change in mode, or modes, involves complex trade-offs regarding representation, measurement, time and cost. The direction and extent of these trade-offs will differ for each survey. It is important to consider the impact any of change in mode thoroughly before making an informed decision about the long-term design of a survey.

The Centre for Social Survey Transformation aims to help survey commissioners understand these trade-offs. To this end we have developed the REMoDEL approach. This provides a clear, systematic process for transforming social surveys and generating robust evidence around the trade-offs involved.

By using well-established techniques based on a deep understanding of the research literature, and placing emphasis on empirical evidence, the REMoDEL approach is methodologically neutral. It aims only to identify the optimal solution to any specified research needs.

The NatCen REMoDEL Approach

  • Review the research and information needs
  • Evaluate the feasibility of moving the survey to an alternative methodological design by considering a range of quality dimensions
  • Model a new prototype design to be further developed
  • Design and develop the new methodological approach and questionnaire
  • Experiment by testing the new design in a quantitative setting
  • Launch the new survey