Approaches to Evaluating Welfare Reform: Lessons from Five State Demonstrations. d. Timing and Frequency of Surveys


In determining the timing of surveys, the challenge is to strike a balance between ensuring an adequate follow-up period for the full impacts of welfare reform to be realized and preventing the follow-up period from being so long that locating respondents and accurate recall become major problems. Multiple surveys (as opposed to a single follow-up survey) may be useful if the impact of a program is thought to evolve over time or if the plan is to focus on different issues at different points in time (for example, a first survey to focus on program participation/process issues and a second survey to focus on costs of working). Multiple surveys at relatively short intervals also offer the opportunity to update contact information and thus make it easier to locate sample members at later follow-up points.