Raising The Bar: the nuts and bolts of automation in survey research

This is third in our series of linked events looking at automation in survey research. Having looked at the challenges around automation in the world of survey research in our one-day conference in May, “Satisfaction Guaranteed? The Challenges of Automation in Survey Research”, the aim of this follow-up day is to dig deeply into the technicalities and practicalities of automation, and actively challenge the barriers that emerged to automation in both April’s evening debate “Automation in MR: Existential Threat or Great Opportunity?” and the May conference.

The day will explore ways to overcome these challenges in three areas:

  • Online panels
  • Working with R
  • New tools and techniques aimed at automation

Plus, just ahead of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect less than 6 months after the conference, Spencer Wood from Facts International will share essential information in the countdown to the start of GDPR.

(Website in development – papers & presentations to be uploaded soon!)

Event Schedule

Representatives from six major panel providers will join an in-depth discussion forum led by Askia’s Jérôme Sopoçko.

Interoperability across different platforms, and especially different online panel providers emerged as a significant challenge faced by many research companies. ASC has issued a challenge – almost a manifesto – to the major panel providers. It argues for panel providers to clarify their position on automation; and calls for them to engage with each other to work together towards the greater good. That greater good will be a unifying standard for panels to support automation unfold its full potential.


  • Jon Puleston, GMI
  • Jane Usoskina, Lucid
  • Joaquim Bretcha, Netquest
  • Orkan Dolay, Respondi
  • James McCoy, Research Now
  • Angus Webb, Panelbase

Location: Hall 1, Building A , Golden Street , Southafrica

Key presenter: Andrie de Vries, member of the R steering committee and author of “R for Dummies”

R could provide survey researchers with a very rich range of resources when automating processes, yet it is rarely used outside the field of statistics. This session will emphasise the potential of R to solve problems for us that were previously difficult to solve.


Location: Hall 1, Building A , Golden Street , Southafrica

A practical review from leading exponents of automation technologies in research. Confirmed presenters:

  • Tim Brandwood, Digital Taxonomy and Jair Pimentel, Network Research
  • Abdullahi Adamu, Digital MR
  • Fabrizio Sebastiani, ISTI-CNR
  • Andy Mendelssohn, Findmypast

Location: Hall 1, Building A , Golden Street , Southafrica