Researchers now have more ways than ever before to capture information about groups of interest. In many areas, these are augmenting traditional survey approaches – in others, new methods are potential replacements. This paper aims to explore three key trends: use of nonprobability samples, mobile data collection and administrative and “big data.”
Insights and lessons learned about these emerging trends are drawn from recent published articles and relevant scientific conference papers.
Each new trend has its own timeline in terms of methodological maturity. While mobile technologies for data capture are being rapidly adopted, particularly the use of internet-based surveys conducted on mobile devices, nonprobability sampling methods remain rare in most government research. Resource and quality pressures combined with the intensive research focus on new sampling methods, are, however, making nonprobability sampling a more attractive option. Finally, exploration of “big data” is becoming more common, although there are still many challenges to overcome – methodological, quality and access – before such data are used routinely.
This paper provides a timely review of recent developments in the field of data collection strategies, drawing on numerous current studies and practical applications in the field.
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