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Survey Data Harmonization: Potentials and Challenges

Coordinator 1Dr Ilona Wysmulek (IFiS PAN)
Coordinator 2Dr Irina Tomescu-Dubrow (IFiS PAN and CONSIRT)

Session Details

Survey data harmonization - its theory and methodology - is growing into a new scientific field that pushes forward the methods of survey data analysis while emphasizing the continuous relevance of surveys for understanding society. Depending on whether researchers intend to design a study to collect comparable data, or use existing data not designed a priori as comparative, the literature distinguishes between input and ex-ante output harmonization, and ex-post output, or, just ex-post, harmonization. Applied ex-ante, harmonization facilitates comparability of survey data collected in multinational, multiregional and multicultural contexts (3MC, www.csdiworkshop.org). Applied ex-post, harmonization enhances the effective use of extant surveys and represents a way to overcome limited time and space coverage inherent in any single comparative project. In both its forms, ex-ante and ex-post, harmonization is a complex, labor-intensive and multistage process, which poses numerous challenges at different stages of the survey lifecycle.

This session welcomes papers on both opportunities and difficulties inherent in ex-ante and ex-post survey data harmonization. We invite theoretical and empirical contributions that deal, among others, with (a) transparency of harmonization procedures, (b) variability in source data quality, (c) minimizing information loss in harmonization, (d) measurement equivalence, and (e) substantive analyses on survey data harmonized ex-post.