Response propensity and data

English title: Response propensity and data

Author(s): M. Bergman - N. Schoebi - Dominique Joye -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2004

Abstract

The response rate of a survey is an important quality criterion for making population inferences. These rates may depend in part on past experiences and propensities of the respondent, the skill of interviewers to create a positive rapport within the first few seconds of contact with respondents, the perceived sensitivity or complexity of the survey topic, question and questionnaire design, etc. Various techniques are employed to boost response rates in populations that often suffer from survey fatigue. However, such strategies may have detrimental effects on data quality. Repeated follow-up contact with initial non-respondents tends to increase the survey response rate although it is not clear to what extent the quality of response from follow-up contacts differs from other respondents. More precisely, it is unclear to what extent reluctant participants simply give in to social pressure by formally obeying instructions without necessarily committing themselves to the demands of the questionnaire, or whether they indeed comply after having been convinced about the value of their participation. Based on detailed event recording during data collection for the Swiss portion of the European Social Survey (2002), we will investigate the effects of various response propensities and degrees of response acquiescence on a number of data quality indicators. As participation and response style relates to various demographic and social variables, such as age, education attainment, and social position, we will include these in our analyses. More generally, we will explore interaction effects between response propensity, socio-demographic background, and data quality. Moreover, this survey included a methodological experiment, in which a sub-sample was contacted in a centralised manner, while the remaining sample was contacted directly by the interviewer. Results from this quasi-experiment will supplement our investigation on response propensity and acquiescence.

Conference name: Sixth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Location: Amsterdam

Start date: Aug 16, 2004

Type: Paper

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