Use of multiple technology platforms in consumer panels
Today, the traditional pen and paper method of data collection in consumer panels faces many problems. The paper describes how to use technology to cope with these problems. New technology can be used in improving the quality of data, speeding up the process of data collection, adding more flexibility into the process allowing researchers to change and fine-tune the instrument. However, the most important opportunity of the use of new technologies is in attracting segments of population which have traditionally been reluctant to participate in consumer panels. This paper examines the possibilities to use different technological approaches in consumer panel data collection process, namely scanners, electronic diaries, Internet and GSM GPRS approach. Multi-country consumer panels also mean taking into consideration local technological infrastructure which limits the possibilities to use new technologies. Pro's and con's of a mobile phone and scanner platform are examined in a case study of the GfK Consumer Panel in Central and Eastern Europe which has developed this concept. Despite substantial hardware, software and organizational challenges, the use of new technologies can improve substantially speed, reliability and quality of consumer panels.
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