Dr. Mario Callegaro ’02, ’07, senior survey scientist at Google UK and Survey Research and Methodology master’s and Ph.D. alumnus, presented his talk, “The Role of Surveys in the Era of ‘Big Data,’” at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business in Howard L. Hawks Hall on November 20. Callegaro discussed the relationship between surveys and big data to help researchers decide what data sources, or combinations of them, are best to serve their research objectives.
One of Callegaro’s primary themes involved distinguishing perspectives about errors in surveys and in big data as a key starting point when looking at combining the two sources of data. By showing trends in survey practices in recent years, he also disputes the notion that surveys are in an existential crisis due to big data advancements, and provides an alternative view where the two working together create better values. He noted that while surveys can help understand attitudes and opinions, big data can help understand people’s behaviors or what people do. He referenced the U.S. presidential campaign of 2008 and the contributions of survey and market researchers as two of the examples relating to the use of big data.
A second theme of the talk was devoted to privacy, confidentiality and data transfer, which are crucial when working on personal identifiers. Given the new tools and technologies available in this era of big data, Callegaro provided his recommendations for researchers regarding new skills and training needs. He also discussed was how a good number of today’s surveys are triggered by specific events, generally in-app surveys based on a person’s location or use of an app for information versus the traditional survey triggering mechanisms such as a targeted study of the general population. This big data provides information for companies and can be useful for various marketing purposes.
Callegaro, who works on the Ads and Commerce User eXperience team at Google, focuses on helping organizations collect high quality feedback about their advertising and commerce products. He consults on numerous survey, user experience, and market research projects. Prior to joining Google, he worked as survey research scientist for Gfk-Knowledge Networks. He is associate editor of Survey Research Methods
and serves on the advisory board of the International Journal of Market Research.
He has published numerous papers, book chapters and presented at international conferences on survey methodology and data collection methods. He published an edited book with Wiley titled Online Panel Research: A Data Quality Perspective,
and co-authored Web Survey Methodology
with Katja Lozar Manfreda and Vasja Vehovar.
As a student in the Nebraska SRAM program, he gained experience learning about best innovative practices in the collection and analysis of regional, national and international survey data. The program covers collection and analysis of other forms of data, and the use of all data to support understanding and decision making in multi-disciplinary settings.
For more information on the SRAM program, visit: http://sram.unl.edu