Integrating Probability and Nonprobability Samples for Survey Inference

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Survey data collection costs have risen to a point where many survey researchers and polling companies are abandoning large, expensive probability-based samples in favour of less expensive nonprobability samples. The empirical literature suggests this strategy may be suboptimal for multiple reasons, amongst them probability samples tend to outperform nonprobability samples on accuracy when assessed against population benchmarks. However, nonprobability samples are often preferred due to convenience and cost effectiveness. Instead of forgoing probability sampling entirely, we propose a method of combining both probability and nonprobability samples in a way that exploits their strengths to overcome their weaknesses within a Bayesian inferential framework. By using simulated data, we evaluate supplementing inferences based on small probability samples with prior distributions derived from nonprobability data. We demonstrate that informative priors based on nonprobability data can lead to reductions in variances and mean-squared errors for linear model coefficients. The method is also illustrated with actual probability and nonprobability survey data. A discussion of these ndings, their implications for survey practice, and possible research extensions are provided in conclusion.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120–147
JournalJournal of Survey Statistics and Methodology
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2020

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