Since the year 2000 the World Internet Institute has collected data about how the Swedish population uses information and communication technology as well as how it affects individuals, families and society. This is mostly done through the panel study “Swedes and the internet”, a panel study which started with 2000 telephone interviews and today 3000 interviews, based on a random selection of the population from 11 and up (2007 and earlier was from 18 and up). From the year 2010, .SE has been the owner of the study.
Telephone interviews are deep and contain questions about the subjects’ background data, access to technology, use of traditional media and most of all the use of the internet in its different forms. Questions are asked to parents with children at home between the ages of 2-11, about their use of the internet. To adolescents between 11 and 15, the questions are also asked to their parents.
In the past few years, those who have received letters that they have been chosen to participate in a study could choose if they wanted to be interviewed over the telephone or if they wanted to answer the questions themselves with an online form. In the 2014 survey, 628 people (21%) took part in the survey via the online form, and the others over the telephone.
Swedes and the internet is the Swedish part of the World Internet Project, an international research project that follows the distribution and use of the internet around the world. The number of participating countries rises each year and now the project has around 30 participating countries. Every partner in the respective countries finances their own work in the project. The national selection is a representative selection of the population. In the question packet, there are around 100 questions that are common for all countries, the so-called “Common Questions”. These are formulated exactly the same in each country in order to create comparative results.
What is unique with the survey?
The survey is designed as a panel study, which gives the possibility to follow individual people over a longer time. Most other internet surveys are samplings where the entire population, including the elderly, are interviewed. In many other internet surveys there are no people over 65. Both users and non-users are included. The internet is seen in a much broader context. Access, use and the effects are studied. International comparisons are possible.
Swedes and the internet is organized by a so-called revolving panel design. This basically means that a panel of people are interviewed year after year. A portion of the panel falls off for various reasons. They do not want to participate any longer, or they have moved, changed name or for other reasons have been difficult to reach. Therefore, there are new selections of people each year filling in the gaps on the panel. They also constitute a control that makes it possible to control for panel effects. The aim is that the total sample of people interviewed should be representative of the population.
The first time the survey was conducted, in the year 2000, a sample was taken from the national phone directory. This selection is supplemented annually for the loss incurred to the sample total, which amounts to 3000 people. Usually, around 700 new people are recruited for the panel to compensate for people who no longer wish to be part of the study. New recruiting of the panel is done through a stratified selection steered by age and gender to ensure an even representation of these variables.
The selections are ordered via SPAR, the state’s personal address register, which is now handled by the tax authorities. It is a register which includes all persons who are registered in Sweden, both Swedish and foreign citizens.
The total sample of adults, 16 years and older, was 4818 of which 4502 were reachable by phone number (large section). 1576 (35%) did not wish to participate, 57 had language problems, and another 62 were not qualified. The number of interviews conducted was 2801. This gives a response rate of 62 percent based on the large sample.
In adolescent interviews, ages 11-15, where parents’ consent was necessary to obtain, the response rate was much lower, a large selection of 475, of which 205 (43%) did not want to participate. The number of interviews was 250. The response rate was 52 percent.
Except for the first few years, the survey was conducted at the beginning of the year. The 2014 survey took place from February to April.
Adult Survey 2014
Swedes and the internet’s interview surveyed a sample of the population 16+ years (no upper limit). Number of respondents: 2801).
Youth survey 2014
The interview surveyed a sample of youth between 11-15 and their parents (250 youth and 250 parents).
Parent survey 2014
Additional questions in the adult survey to those parents with children between 2-11 years old, about the use of mobile phones and the internet (514 parents interviewed about 833 children)
51 percent men 49 percent women
63 percent urban 37 percent rural