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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Online panels (OPs) are an important form of web-based data collection, as illustrated by their widespread use. In the classical sense, a panel is a longitudinal study in which the same information is collected from the same individuals at different points in time. In contrast to that, an OP has come to denote a pool of registered people who have agreed to occasionally take part in web-based studies. Thus with OPs, the traditional understanding of a panel as a longitudinal study is broadened because an OP can be employed as a sampling source for both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies. This article gives an overview of the current state of use of OPs. It discusses what OPs are, what type of OPs there are, how OPs work from a technological point of view, and what their advantages and disadvantages are. The article reviews the current body of methodological findings on doing research with OPs. Based on this evidence, recommendations are given as to how the quality of data that are collected in OPs can be augmented.

Keywords: online panels, psychological research, data collection, longitudinal study

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