3.7 Conclusion

The transition from the analog age to the digital age is creating new opportunities for survey researchers. In this chapter, I’ve argued that big data sources will not replace surveys and that the abundance of big data sources increases—not decreases—the value of surveys (section 3.2). Next, I summarized the total survey error framework that was developed during the first two eras of survey research, and that can help researchers develop and evaluate third-era approaches (section 3.3). Three areas where I expect to see exciting opportunities are (1) non-probability sampling (section 3.4), (2) computer-administrated interviews (section 3.5), and (3) linking surveys and big data sources (section 3.6). Survey research has always evolved, driven by changes in technology and society. We should embrace that evolution, while continuing to draw wisdom from earlier eras.