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ESRA 2023 Glance Program

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New Social Norms in Times of Covid-19: Challenges for Survey Research 1

Session Organisers Dr Ivar Krumpal (University of Leipzig)
Professor Peter Kriwy (Chemnitz University of Technology)
TimeTuesday 18 July, 11:00 - 12:30
Room U6-09

In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic occurred and continues in a degraded form. It is clear that Covid-19 and how we deal with it is changing society. New social norms and collective good problems have emerged. For example, wearing face masks, getting vaccinated, self-reporting infections using Corona apps or adhering to lockdown norms can be seen as contributions to the collective good “public health”. Compliance with these norms are a collective good problem. Monitoring collective action as well as individual behavior and attitudes has confronted the survey discipline with new challenges.

This session aims at presenting and discussing current survey research on social norms and values influencing our behavior and attitudes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to discuss best practices, new challenges and innovative designs focusing on methodological as well as substantive problems. We invite submissions that deal with these problems and/or present potential solutions. In particular, we are interested in studies that (1) deal with substantive problems and applications of survey research, such as attitudes towards vaccination, norm compliance, deviant behavior, ethical orientations in regards to triage or conspiracy beliefs; (2) present current empirical research focusing on public opinion in regards to the emergence of new social norms, values and the production of collective goods in times of Covid-19; (3) deal with methodological problems such as nonresponse, social desirability bias or sampling issues presenting innovative designs and solutions addressing these problems; (4) present experimental survey research (e.g. factorial surveys, choice experiments, field experiments) and statistical procedures to analyze such data (e.g. conjoint analysis); (5) integrate innovative experimental designs in well-established, large-scale population surveys of the general population; (6) discuss best practices in surveying social norms.

Keywords: Social norms; social desirability bias; nonresponse bias; factorial surveys; choice experiments


Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy After and Before the Beginning of Vaccination Campaign in Italy

Professor Antonio Fasanella (Sapienza-University of Rome)
Dr Fiorenzo Parziale (Sapienza-University of Rome) - Presenting Author
Dr Lorenzo Barbanera (Sapienza-University of Rome)

Several studies stated confidence in vaccines depends on trust in health care providers (Verger, Dubé 2020), the health care system (Majid, Ahmad, 2020; Reno et al., 2021), and the broader sociopolitical context (Larson et al. 2018; Ward et al. 2019).
This confidence seems to depend on people's social status (Kricorian et al. 2022; Morales et al. 2022; Aw et al, 2021; Kerr et al. 2021; Kessels et al. 2021; Vulpe, Rughinis, 2021).
At the same time, in the current scenario vaccine hesitancy has been fueled by fear of the short time in which new vaccines have been developed.
On the basis of these observations, our research is mainly focused on the specifically the concern of being infected, the people’s assessment of government policies and the trust in health and scientific institutions over time: we carried on a panel survey to see whether trust in vaccines changed between the time when these vaccines were not available and the time when the vaccination campaign began, other sociodemographic variables being equal.
The data was collected by means of a web survey administered to a sample of 2787 Italians in April-May 2021 (t1), also including some vaccine hesitancy related questions. In order to observe whether the above determinants have change before and after the starting of the vaccination campaign, they were compared with some findings of a previous questionnaire, which already included them, aimed to the same sample in April-May 2020 (t0). Through a series of multinomial regressions, our analysis allows to explain how social conditioning affects quantitative and qualitative change of attitudes in one year of pandemic in terms of concern about Covid-19, assessment of government policies, and scientific and institutional confidence.

Covid-19 Vaccine Skepticism and its Determinants in Turkey

Dr Ceylan Engin (Boğaziçi University) - Presenting Author
Ms Sena Akkoç (Boğaziçi University)

Even before the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic, an anti-vaccination sentiment has already been observed both in Europe and in the United States. With the emergence of Covid-19 health crises however, vaccine skepticism has become an even a greater concern. Although vaccine skepticism in Europe and the U.S. has been highly contested, studies that look at attitudes toward Covid-19 vaccination in Turkey has remained extremely limited.

To date, 93 percent of the Turkish adult population has received at least one vaccinal dose and 86 % received 2 doses while 7 percent of the adult population is choosing not to get vaccinated, despite being eligible (TC Sağlık Bakanlığı 2022). In this paper, we investigate the prevalence and the determinants of Covid-19 vaccine skepticism in Turkey. More specifically, the paper examines the relationship between people’s values on trust in institutions and their vaccination behavior and intension.

The novel data for this paper is derived from the 2022 Turkish Covid-19 Values Study (TCVS). The survey is conducted using the Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) method with 1500 individuals over the age of 18. Our results show that 16% of the participants expressed that they are opposed to receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in the future, while another 35.4% said that they were undecided. The main reasons for vaccine opposition and indecision within the framework of vaccine skepticism include 1) concerns about the side effects of the vaccine and 2) distrust of the content of the vaccine. Moreover, individuals with higher religiosity, low trust in government, pharmaceutical companies, and health institutions have lower likelihood of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine as well as lower intention to be vaccinated in the future.

Compliance with COVID-19 Protective Measures and Attitudes Towards Vaccination in Slovenia: Methodological Challenges

Dr Ana Slavec (InnoRenew CoE) - Presenting Author

Governments and public health authorities have placed several restrictions and recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but that has not stopped the pandemic. Since the first outbreaks various organisations run web surveys trying to understand attitudes and behaviours of citizens related to protective measures and with the advent of COVID-19 vaccines they extended the topic to vaccine hesitancy. Under time pressure due to the emergency of the health crisis, many of these surveys gave precedence to speedy results on the expense of survey quality. One of the common methodological problems is the use of convenience samples that do not allow the generalisation of results to the population instead of more representative options.

In this contribution, I present two case studies of such cross-sectional surveys in Slovenia. The first was about compliance with protection measures such as social distancing and mask wearing and run in November 2020, while the second dealt with vaccination attitudes and was conducted in December 2020, just before the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine. In both studies the questionnaire was administered in parallel to two samples, a large snowball convenience sample and a smaller marketing panel sample that is representative of the country’s population. In both cases the comparison of results between the two samples indicates certain biases. Finally, the results are discussed considering other studies on the topic and recommendations are provided for how to improve future surveys in similar situations.

Measuring Compliance with Covid-19 Preventive Interventions: Text vs. Image Vignettes in a Factorial Survey on Wearing Face Masks

Professor Knut Petzold (Zittau/Goerlitz University of Applied Sciences) - Presenting Author

Wearing face masks is important in combating Covid-19 but raises the question of what motivates individuals to comply with such interventions. Existing studies using general survey and register data often neglect that norm compliance is conditional to situations. We conduct a factorial survey experiment to analyse the detailed salience conditions of the mask wearing norm. Moreover, norm compliance may rely on visible situational cues that activate normative issues. Recent studies have suggested to use visual instead of written treatments for such situations. The reason is that, according to the Dual Coding Theory, written information is processed sequentially possibly leading to different interpretation frames, while visual information is processed simultaneously what may lead to rather similar interpretation frames. This should result in less measurement error and probably stronger treatment effects with visual treatments.

Based on general theoretical considerations, a hypothetical everyday scenario (waiting at a tram stop) was varied according to situational conditions (environment, absence/presence and mask wearing of others) and randomly presented to a sample of university students (n = 325), who were asked to report their own intentions for norm compliance and that of potential others. Using a survey split, text and image vignettes were applied.

Both presentation formats reveal a similar conditionality of the norm, while there is no clear advantage of text or image vignettes in terms of nonresponse and processing time. However, respondents tend slightly more to comply with the norm in the text condition. While mask wearing behaviour of others waiting at the tram station is the strongest predictor in both formats, effects are even stronger, and measurement error is reduced in text vignettes. Unlike assumed, the results indicate that the normative focus may be more activated in text vignettes than in image vignettes. Possible underlying mechanisms and methodological implications are discussed.

Face-to-Face-Interviews during the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of mask usage: Experience from Germany

Ms Karoline Estermann (University of Bonn, Department of Sociology) - Presenting Author
Ms Manuela Schmidt (University of Bonn, Department of Sociology)
Ms Rebekka Atakan (University of Bonn, Department of Sociology)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many face-to-face surveys were forced to change the mode of data collection due to contact restriction and quarantine regulations. Survey mode was changed to telephone, online or postal interviews for surveys such as Eurobarometer, ESS and GSS. This creates a challenge in data comparability, as mode effects may substantially impact results.

In this presentation, we report experiences from the fifth wave of the Cologne Dwelling Panel, consisting of roughly 1,000 cases. In this panel, the dwellings are the units, while their residents are the spokespersons of the dwellings. In order to ensure comparability with previous waves, it was decided to maintain the face-to-face mode. The field period for the fifth wave was from June to December 2022, thus after the peak of the pandemic. In Germany, there were no contact restrictions in private housing, but face masks were still mandatory in certain areas (e.g., public transport) and persons tested positive for Covid-19 were required to quarantine. As face-to-face interviews usually take place inside the respondents’ homes, we suspected some refusals due to fear of infection. For this reason, interviewers were instructed to ask participants whether they would prefer them to keep their mask on during the interview.

We first discuss Covid-related difficulties the interviewers had in contacting and recruiting respondents, and second we analyze participant and interviewer characteristics that influenced mask usage during the interview. Third, we assess whether mask usage had an effect on the quality of data (e.g., item nonresponse, length of interview, straight lining). With our results, we present an example of the challenges and opportunities of conducting face-to-face interviews during a pandemic and we discuss which effects protection measures such as mask wearing have on data quality.