Summer School in Survey Methodology

Barcelona
7-11 July 2014

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Survey nonresponse


Instructor:
 Ineke Stoop, The Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP

Ineke Stoop is Chief Methodologist at The Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP. She obtained her PhD with a thesis on nonresponse (The Hunt for the Last Respondent) and has published extensively on this topic. Her other research interest are survey quality and cross-national surveys. Dr. Stoop is deputy director of Methodology of the European Social Survey ESS), and a member of the European Statistical Advisory Committee (ESAC).

Date: July 7-8 from 9h-11h and 14:15-16:15; July 9 from 9h-11h

Location: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Campus Ciutadella. Barcelona, Spain.

Short description:
Nonresponse is a major concern of survey sponsors, survey agencies, and data users. Because of the decreasing response rates in many European countries survey costs increase and fieldwork periods lengthen, survey agencies have to enhance efforts to reach target persons and obtain their participation, and data users worry about the representativeness of the outcomes of their analyses and the accuracy of their estimates.

Surveys researchers worldwide work on improving survey designs, experiment with modes and incentives, and investigate how balanced response rates can be achieved, i.e. equal response rates from men and women, the rich and the poor, and people who like or dislike politics. They also try to collect auxiliary variables that both correlate with key outcomes of the survey and response propensities, to assess the presence of nonresponse bias and to adjust for this, if necessary and possible.

The course will present the nonresponse problem from a general survey quality perspective. It will delve into causes and correlates of nonresponse, describe measures to enhance response rates, such as interviewer training, incentives and advance letters, show how nonresponse bias can be assessed, and present some ways to adjust for nonresponse. Special attention will be paid to survey design aspects that exclude specific groups (e.g., the illiterate), the use of mixed mode designs, and nonresponse in a comparative perspective. The course will focus on nonresponse on surveys among individuals and households, rather than businesses. The emphasis is on unit nonresponse rather than item nonresponse.

The course will be useful for those who conduct their own surveys, who wish to evaluate the quality of data collected by a survey, and who wish to assess the possible effects of nonresponse on their analyses. A hands-on approach will be used, which means that input from the participants is planned in every phase of the course.

Some general knowledge on survey methodology is required.

Course outline:

Day 1 - Morning
1. Nonresponse and survey quality
1.a Why is nonresponse a problem
1.b Nonresponse and other survey quality aspects
1.c Conducting fieldwork

2. Discussion with participants. Presentation of case studies, own projects, question time

Day 1 - Afternoon
3. Enhancing response rates
3.a Interviewers (training, briefing, characteristics, experience, motivation)
3.b Mixed mode designs
3.c Advance letters, incentives

4. Discussion with participants. Presentation of case studies, own projects, question time

Day 2 - Morning
5. Causes and correlates of nonresponse
5.a Who does not participate?
5.b Noncontact, not able, refusal
5.c Difficult groups (ethnic minorities, non-native speakers, etc.)

6. Discussion with participants

Presentation of case studies, own projects, question time

Day 2 - Afternoon
7. Nonresponse bias
7.a What is nonresponse bias?
7.b Indicators of nonresponse bias
7.c Auxiliary data, paradata

7.d Adjusting for nonresponse bias

8. Discussion with participants

Presentation of case studies, own projects, question time

Day 3 - Morning
9. Nonresponse from a comparative perspective

9.a Introduction European Social Survey

9.b Fieldwork and response rates across countries and over time

9.c Why do response rates differ?

9.d Enhancing and balancing response rates

10. Discussion with participants

Presentation of case studies, own projects, question time

  

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