improper to place much more confidence in the combined results than one would in results based on data from the 2000 panel alone. In short, combining a reduced panel of acceptable quality with another of dubious quality with only a slim possibility of greater understanding of correctable bias is not a wise decision.

An additional potential benefit of the hybrid option is that it would allow SRS to analyze aspects of specific survey items. For example, in 2003, SRS will ask about race using a new format that allows reporting multiple races. Because data for the current sample were collected using a single-race format, comparison of old responses with those on the 2003 NSCG would provide information about the effect of the change in format. Similarly, by asking 2003 NSCG respondents about dates and types of all degrees and comparing that information with earlier data, SRS can learn something about the reliability of this information.

Although we agree that there are important things to learn about a variety of survey items, we do not believe that the hybrid option is the most appropriate source of data. The Census Bureau is conducting research that will more effectively learn about the effects of changes to the race question. Other methodological questions might be addressed more efficiently by focused reinterview studies or other methods.

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