As the market research industry is gradually outsourcing more and more of its online data collection to specialized online panel providers and with research budgets still shifting towards online data collection, the topic of managing the quality of online access panels has become extremely important. With the statement “Garbage in, garbage out” more than ever relevant, we are witnessing a necessary evolution towards defining relevant norms for the industry.
As in any debate there are supporters and opponents who each make a case for their own right, while the simple truth is we do not know (yet). One of the key issues is whether duplication, i.e. respondents belonging to multiple panels, really makes a difference in terms of the quality of the research data. Another issue is whether online versus offline recruitment of access panel members leads to quality differences. In order to shed a better light on both of these issues, we have set up two different studies in cooperation with the XL Online Panels online research panel.