Is the web a promising tool for data collection in developing countries? - 2015

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Whereas the sample composition biases of web surveys have been discussed extensively for developed countries, studies for developing countries are scarce. This article helps to fill that gap by comparing similar non-probability-based web surveys (WEB) and probability-based face-to-face (F2F) surveys both to each other and to the labor force. An analysis of WageIndicator data on work and wages derived from surveys held in 2009–2013 in 10 developing countries (WEB-sample N = 9135; F2F-sample N = 14,659), shows that F2F samples resemble the labor force to a larger extent than web samples do. In both cases, individuals in their 20s and early 30s are overrepresented, and younger and older respondents are underrepresented. This trend is more pronounced in WEB than in F2F samples. However, the differences converge in countries with higher Internet usage. A comparison of the WEB and F2F samples shows that compositions differ greatly, with web respondents being younger, more often male, more often living alone, and higher educated, although these differences are smaller in countries with higher Internet usage. Given the cost differences between the two survey modes, one should nevertheless consider the potential of web surveys as an instrument to gain explorative insights, specifically when searching for individuals with particular characteristics.