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The demise of the survey? A research note on trends in the use of survey data in the social sciences, 1939 to 2015

Sturgis, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0003-1180-3493 and Luff, Rebekah (2020) The demise of the survey? A research note on trends in the use of survey data in the social sciences, 1939 to 2015. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. ISSN 1464-5300

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1844896

Abstract

We assess the case for a decline in the use of survey data in the social sciences during a period in which conventional survey research has faced existential challenges to its ongoing feasibility and growing competition from new forms of ‘Big Data’. Presser (1983) and Converse (1987) undertook content analysis of articles published in a set of leading social science journals, finding a trend of increasing the use of survey data between 1939 and 1980. In an extension of Presser’s analysis to the mid-1990s, Saris and Gallhofer (2007) found a further small increase in the rate of survey use, though with notable variability across disciplines. We update these studies to include the period 2014 to 2015. While our analysis reveals the emergence of a small proportion of articles using Big Data, we find no evidence of a concomitant decline in the use of survey data. On the contrary, the use of surveys increased, being used in nearly half of all published articles in this set of journals in 2014/15 and, where articles reported using Big Data, many of them also used survey data. Additionally, we find a substantial increase in the use of secondary survey data over the reference period.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tsrm20/current
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2020 11:27
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 16:24
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/107138

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