Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues. Collecting Information Valuable in Postsurvey Adjustment

06/01/2002

Several studies (Purdon et al, 1999; Groves and Couper, 1998; Brehm, 1993) now demonstrate that the utterances of sample persons during their interactions with interviewers contain some information regarding motivations for their reaction to the survey request and the likelihood of eventual cooperation with the survey request. The evidence comes more from face-to-face surveys than from telephone surveys, although Couper and Groves (1995) find some support for links between the utterances and the final outcome in telephone surveys as well. These become useful predictors in response-propensity models sometimes used in postsurvey adjustment.

Another set of variables involves fixed attributes of the housing unit, best observed in face-to-face surveys. For example, the Consumer Expenditure Survey uses observations from the interviewer about whether the unit is owned or rented in postsurvey adjustments based on the belief that the consumption patterns are relatively homogeneous in the two groups. Similarly, observations of multiple-person households (through records on who answered the telephone) the presence of children, etc. are possible in some designs. These too can be useful in forming postsurvey adjustment weighting classes.

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