English title: Evaluating the Impact of Response Enhancement Methods on the Risk of Nonresponse Bias and Survey Costs

Author(s): Caroline Roberts - Caroline Vandenplas - Michèle Ernst Stähli -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014

Abstract

The pursuit of high response rates to minimise the threat of nonresponse bias continues to dominate decisions about resource allocation in survey research. Yet a growing body of research has begun to question this practice because the cost of e orts to increase response rates is not always justified in terms of their impact on nonresponse bias. In this study, we assess the costs and benefits of di erent methods designed to increase response rates on the European Social Survey in Switzerland, by analysing data from a new sampling frame based on population registers to examine the changing composition of the respondent pool and the risk of bias, alongside the financial costs associated with additional fieldwork e orts. We compute an R-indicator to assess representativity with respect to the sampling register variables, and find little improvement in the sample composition as response rates increase. We then examine the impact of response rate increases on the risk of nonresponse bias based on Maximal Absolute Bias (MAB), and coecients of variation between subgroup response rates, alongside the associated costs of different types of fieldwork e ort. The results show that increases in response rate help to reduce MAB, while only small but important improvements to sample representativity are gained by varying the type of e ort. The findings lend further support to research that has called into question the value of extensive investment in procedures aimed at reaching response rate targets and the need for more tailored fieldwork strategies aimed both at reducing survey costs and minimising the risk of bias. Keywords: R-indicator; European Social Survey; response rates; coecient of variation

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

From page no: 67

To page no: 80

Refereed: Yes

DOI:

Journal: Survey Research Methods

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