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Thursday 16th July, 14:00 - 15:30 Room: HT-102

Response rates and nonresponse bias in comparative surveys 1

Convenor Dr Koen Beullens (KU Leuven )
Coordinator 1Dr Ineke Stoop (SCP)

Session Details

Comparing response rates and possibly associated nonresponse bias can be hard in the context of cross-national surveys. First, response rates objectives may be set differently. In this respect, the European Social Survey sets a 70% response rate objective, without really penalizing countries that do not achieve this objective. PIAAC, on the other hand, also sets a target response rate of of 70%, but accepts response rates in between 50% to 70%, whereas when response rates below 50% occur a nonresponse analysis has to be provided. Second, response rates have to be calculated in a comparable ways. Response rates from EU-SILC and the LFS, for instance, are sometimes hard to compare because the numerator and/or denominator may be calculated in different ways. Third, and even more complicated, are the national differences regarding survey design features (e.g. sampling design) that have diverse implication for the response and the nonresponse bias.

Not only is it hard to determine nonresponse bias for a single survey, the cross-national context even adds more complexity, probably strongly jeopardizing the comparability between countries or surveys. The survey climate in different countries, the related nonresponse mechanisms, strategies to minimize nonresponse (bias) or adjustment methods are not likely to be considered as uniform over different countries or surveys.

Therefore, this session welcomes papers on (1) enhancing response, (2) fieldwork strategies minimising nonresponse bias and (3) nonresponse adjustment methods, all providing better comparability for cross-national surveys.

Paper Details

1. 25 years of nonresponse research and comparative surveys
Dr Ineke Stoop (The Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP)

In 1989 the International workshop on household survey nonresponse was founded. At the start Bob Groves proposed a number of collaborative projects: multivariate analysis of correlates of nonresponse, collection of interviewer observations on correlates of nonresponse, construction of models of persuasion and nonresponse bias, sequential design for nonresponse reduction, relationships between nonresponse propensity and measurement error, assembly of arguments for and against survey participation, and a survey of interviewers.

The presentation will show where we are after 25 years. The focus will be on the topics suggested with a focus on comparative surveys.

2. Toward Minimizing the Impact of Missing Data That Are Highly Correlated with Literacy in a Cross-National Literacy Assessment
Mr Tom Krenzke (Westat)
Dr Leyla Mohadjer (Westat)
Ms Lin Li (Westat)

In the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competency (PIAAC), a Background Questionnaire (BQ) is administered prior to an assessment of adult competency (referred to hereafter as “literacy”). Cases that could not complete the BQ due to literacy-related nonresponse (LRNR) reasons (e.g., due to language), and an interviewer was not available who spoke the same language, are referred to as “BQ LRNR” cases. The treatment of the BQ LRNR cases has an impact on results. We discuss several improvements, including fieldwork strategies to reduce the number of BQ LRNR cases, nonresponse adjustment strategies, imputation methods and reporting

3. Response Rates and Nonresponse/Noncoverage Bias in PIAAC
Dr Leyla Mohadjer (Vice President, Westat)
Mr Tom Krenzke (Associate Director, Westat)

The Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies offers continuing global assessment of adult skills in multiple cycles. The goal is to produce data that make inferences and comparisons across national populations on the basis of survey samples. Thus countries are required to follow consistent guidelines to facilitate valid comparisons of results internationally. However, survey environments are different across countries, making adherence to guidelines more challenging for some as compared to others. Thus the goal is to minimise the impact of such variations on the international results. This paper discusses topics related to response rates and nonresponse bias in PIAAC.

4. What can we learn from the European Social Survey (ESS) by comparing the response rates, refusal rates and non-contact rates in individual name, address and household samples?
Dr Piotr Jabkowski (University of Poznan, Poland )

Existing literature on survey methodology is not rich in studies of the relationship between the type of sample-frames and the patterns of their fieldwork execution. Most studies focus on the impact of the within-household selection of respondent in address and household samples on the imperfect coverage of the individuals comprising the population. This presentation will be devoted to the problem of what effects the different sample-frames have on the response-rates and the post-survey structure of the set of respondents and non-respondents.