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ESRA23 Call for Sessions

The 10th Conference of the European Survey Research Association will take place from 17 July to 21 July 2023. The conference will be hosted by the University of Milan-Bicocca in Milan, Italy.

The conference theme is “Survey research in times of crisis: Challenges, opportunities, and new directions”.

European societies are in an ongoing phase of struggling to deal with the consequences of the European debt crisis, the so-called immigration crisis and climate change. However, the most recent and currently dominant crises are the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

As much as times of crisis are of great interest to many researchers, they also pose major challenges to survey research in the social and behavioural sciences. While many survey studies generated valuable results and recommendations for decision-makers in politics and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the high requirements for generating funds, study planning, data collection and study management may have led to deviations from standard practices in many cases. However, new perspectives have emerged as well and advances in web and mobile-web technology have contributed to create new avenues for techniques of data gathering and analysis. Many of these developments were accompanied by rigorous methodological research and converted into recommendations for future research strategies. However, many of these processes are ongoing and large international surveys (e.g., ESS, ISSP) are considering changing their data collection modes in the long term (e.g., push-to-web). Moreover, geo-political conflicts challenge the conditions under which survey research is being conducted.

Overall, the developments and challenges in the survey and data science landscape need to be evaluated critically in order to better understand social crisis and their aftermath. After all, survey-based research should benefit the public and support trust in the social and behavioural sciences.

We therefore think that the upcoming ESRA conference in Milan – also in continuation of the past conferences in 2019 and 2021 – should offer space to researchers from all directions to reflect and discuss these aspects.

The ESRA Conference Scientific Committee is now inviting researchers with a variety of backgrounds, including academic research, official statistics, commercial research, and government social research, who are active in the field of survey research, survey methodology, social data science, and data analysis to submit proposals for sessions.

Session abstracts (max. 300 words) can be submitted via the ESRA conference management system by 15 September 2022:

The following are examples of topics that are of particular interest. Session proposals should broadly cover these areas:

Survey methodology and survey practice

  • Questionnaire development, testing and piloting; measurement issues
  • Online survey methods and surveys on mobile devices
  • Mixing modes and mode effects
  • Fieldwork processes, including responsive and adaptive designs
  • Innovations and emerging methods: life-tracking and sensor data; blue-tooth and near field technology; web scraping for data collection
  • Collecting biomarkers and other specimen data within surveys
  • Gamification of surveys
  • Analysing, monitoring and reducing Total Survey Error; using paradata to evaluate survey quality
  • Sample designs, coverage, and sampling (probability and nonprobability); hard-to-reach populations
  • Unit and item nonresponse
  • Interviewers and interviewer effects
  • Methods for cross-national and cross-cultural surveys
  • Longitudinal surveys
  • Experiments in general population surveys
  • Survey practice in times of geo-political and humanitarian crises

Data management, survey data processing, data enrichment

  • Data documentation, archiving and data access
  • Privacy and confidentiality; consent
  • Data security and access
  • Post-survey processing – coding and editing; related errors
  • Weighting in probability and nonprobability-based sample surveys
  • Imputation methods
  • Survey data harmonization
  • Linking survey data to auxiliary data sources (geodata, social media data, administrative and big data sources)
  • AI, machine learning, application of computational methods in survey research (i.e., machine learning methods for data linkage)

Developments in survey analysis techniques

  • Longitudinal analysis techniques
  • Multi-level techniques
  • Comparative methods and equivalence testing
  • Methods to estimate and adjust for survey errors
  • Social network analysis
  • Visualisation of survey data
  • Qualitative methods

Substantive applications of survey research

  • COVID-19: attitudes toward vaccination, vaccination intentions, conspiracy beliefs etc.
  • Election polling and public opinion
  • Values
  • Migration
  • Social indicators
  • Comparative research
  • Evaluation research
  • Life course studies


The scientific programme of the conference will be based on an initial call for session proposals, which will be followed by a call for abstracts inviting submissions to the accepted sessions. Once a session has been accepted in the programme, session organisers will be asked to contribute inviting abstracts for presentations (to be submitted via the ESRA conference management system by the authors), reviewing the abstracts assigned to their sessions, and for liaising with presenters and the ESRA conference committee.

Tentative Schedule

June-15 September 2022Call for session proposals
End of September 2022Decisions communicated to session proposers
October-December 2022Call for abstracts
End of January 2023Decisions communicated to paper proposers
Mid-February 2023Deadline for confirming attendance and final revisions to abstracts
April 2023Registration opens
15 June 2023Registration deadline
17-21 July 2023ESRA Conference