New Developments in Survey Data Collection

Posted: 14 Aug 2017

See all articles by Mick P. Couper

Mick P. Couper

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: July 2017


This review focuses on recent methodological and technological developments in survey data collection. Surveys are facing unprecedented challenges from both societal and technological changes. Against this backdrop, I review the survey profession's response to these challenges and developments to enhance and extend the survey tool. I discuss the decline in random digit dialing and the rise of address-based sampling, along with the corresponding shift from telephone surveys to self-administered (mail and/or Web) modes. I discuss the rise in nonprobability sampling approaches, especially those associated with online data collection. I also review so-called big data alternatives to surveys. Finally, I discuss a number of recent methodological and technological trends designed to modernize the survey method. I conclude that although they face a number of major challenges, surveys remain a robust and flexible method for collecting data on, and making inference to, populations.

Suggested Citation

Couper, Mick P., New Developments in Survey Data Collection (July 2017). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 43, pp. 121-145, 2017, Available at SSRN: or

Mick P. Couper (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics