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PhD Studentship (ESRC South Coast DTP) - Online surveys and mobile device use in a digital age

Social Statistics & Demography

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £14553
Annual stipend of £14553 plus payment of programme fees.
Closing Date:   Wednesday 28 June 2017
Reference:  878417CC

Online surveys and mobile device use in a digital age

Supervisory Team:

Prof Gabriele Durrant (, Prof Patrick Sturgis, Dr Olga Maslovskaya

Surveys are increasingly collecting data via online data collection including the adoption of technologies such as mobile devices. Online surveys have a range of advantages such as cost savings, increased frequency of interviewing in longitudinal studies and potentially reaching groups that are normally harder to reach such as younger respondents. Due to the significant increase in the use of different mobile devices including smartphones, it can no longer be expected that all participants would use PCs or laptops to respond in online surveys.  Despite the increasing trends of using smartphones, very little is known about the effects of different devices in online surveys. The use of different devices in data collection is still underexplored for many aspects of survey research and data quality issues are not well understood. Therefore, it is important to study not only the effects of different modes of data collection (e.g. face-to-face vs online) but also different device’s effects within online surveys.

This PhD project aims to better understand participants’ online survey choices and behaviour and to investigate data quality issues in online surveys with a special focus on mobile devices.

The project will aim to utilize several key data resources and if possible from several countries, to allow for cross-country comparisons. The PhD studentship is linked to the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). The project will allow collaboration with survey practitioners such as from government statistical offices (Office for National Statistics UK (ONS), Central Bureau of Statistics Netherlands (CBS)) and market research agencies.

The project will have important implications for survey practice as it will enable improvements in online data collection and data quality. Skills required at start of PhD: binary and multinomial logistic regressions regression modelling including ideally some experience in multilevel modelling; basic understanding of survey methodology; experience in using large-scale datasets.


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £14553, plus payment of all programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website (

Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at

Application Procedure

The closing date and time for applications is noon on 28th June 2017.  The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:

For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailsed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us at

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position



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