A Knowledge Graph Based Approach to Social Science Surveys

Jeff Pan* (Corresponding Author), Elspeth Edelstein, Patrik Bansky, Adam Zachary Wyner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Recent success of knowledge graphs has spurred interest in applying knowledge graphs in open science, such as on intelligent survey systems for scientists. However, efforts to understand the quality of candidate survey questions provided by these methods have been limited. Indeed, existing methods do not consider the type of on-the-fly content planning that is possible for faceto-face surveys and hence do not guarantee that selection of subsequent questions is based on
response to previous questions in a survey. To address this limitation, we propose a dynamic
and informative solution for an intelligent survey system that is based on knowledge graphs. To illustrate our proposal, we look into social science surveys, focusing on ordering the questions of a questionnaire component by their level of acceptance, along with conditional triggers that further customise participants’ experience. Our main findings are: (i) evaluation of the proposed approach shows that the dynamic component can be beneficial in terms of lowering the
number of questions asked per variable, thus allowing more informative data to be collected in a survey of equivalent length; and (ii) a primary advantage of the proposed approach is that it enables grouping of participants according to their responses, so that participants are not only served appropriate follow-up questions, but their responses to these questions may be analysed in the context of some initial categorisation. We believe that the proposed approach can easily
be applied to other social science surveys based on grouping definitions in their contexts. The knowledge-graph-based intelligent survey approach proposed in our work allows online questionnaires to approach face-to-face interaction in their level of informativity and responsiveness,
as well as duplicating certain advantages of interview-based data collection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477–506
Number of pages30
JournalData Intelligence
Issue number4
Early online date25 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Intelligent survey system
  • Dynamic and informative system
  • Knowledge graph
  • Linguistic grammaticality judgements


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