Internet Survey Developments at Statistics Netherlands

Now that the Internet is expanding so rapidly, it has become an attractive medium for collecting relatively large amounts of data in a relatively cheap way. Not surprisingly, national statistical institutes,  research institutes, and commercial marketing research organisations are using, or are considering using, Internet surveys for collecting survey data. However, use of Internet surveys is not without draw-backs. Lack of attention for the methodological aspects may easily lead to survey designs that will produce invalid survey results. And there are ample examples of such surveys. This paper gives a description of some of the methodological problems of Internet surveys. Then it discusses the role web surveys can play in national statistical institutes. In the short run, Statistics Netherlands foresees interesting applications in mixed-mode surveys Attention is paid to some problems concerning implementation of mixed-mode surveys. The Blaise system, developed by Statistics Netherlands, is described as a useful tool for mixed-mode surveys. Some early experiments and experiences with Internet surveys are mentioned. The final part discusses the prospects for single-mode Internet survey in the not too far away future.