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Have You Given Up Your Land Line Phone Service?

Do you have a “land line” for your telephone service? Or do you only have cellular service? Personally, I would never give up my “land line” (and I was upset when we were forced to “go digital” with that line last month), but I know others do not share this old-fashioned perspective. Increasingly, people are moving to cellular-only phone service, and this shift has changed the landscape of general population research for firms such as WolfBrown. Did you know federal law makes it illegal to call cellphones using automatic dialers? Did you know that a huge fraction of cellphone users are minors who are usually ineligible for surveys? (Did you know that “cellphone” is now one word?) While telephone surveys used to be a standard tool for reaching random samples of adults in a given community, response rates for phone research have decreased significantly over the past decade, while bias has increased (i.e., only people with an interest in the survey subject matter tend to respond). Meanwhile, the quality of online consumer panels has increased, providing a new avenue for gathering data quickly and at a reasonable cost. Phone research is not dead yet, but we are using it less and less frequently, while developing new approaches to online and intercept sampling.

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