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Measuring Research and Development Expenditures in the U.S. Economy: Interim Report
reporters to ascertain the most efficient means of obtaining the response (automated or paper) and assist them in drilling down into the data to ensure that survey definitions are in keeping with respondent record-keeping capacities.
Development of an Improved Survey Management System
The Census Bureau should be requested to develop an improved RD-1 survey management system, to include electronic documentation for managing respondent contacts and improving the capture of editing and imputation procedures both at Census Bureau headquarters and at the processing center at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Cognitive Research into Survey and Questionnaire Design Issues
This research agenda pertains to all of the NSF surveys, particularly those collected in a web-based mode. NSF would be well advised to continue to obtain expert advice to develop a multiyear research and implementation agenda for improving questionnaire content, layout, and processes. The research agenda should focus on several issues highlighted in this interim report, including cleaning up confusing language and integration of instructions into the questionnaire instrument.
Although the focus of this interim report has been on issues of the reliability and accuracy of the statistical methodology, the panel recognizes that its study of these matters is incomplete without reference to several other sources of error and other shortcomings in the surveys. The issues of concept and definition, of timeliness, and of survey management have much to do with the overall quality of these surveys.
Likewise, the challenges posed by a changing environment for data collection, due to the growing prominence of “novel” forms of organizational arrangements for the conduct of research and development, need to be explored, as does the impact of the increasing globalization of R&D. Sectoral shifts in the focus of R&D and the influence of firm size also pose new challenges and opportunities for data collection. These issues and more will be addressed in the final report of the panel.