Experiments in the 2010 CPEX
SOURCES: Presentations to the panel; “2010 CPEX Information Sheet: 2010 ICP Paid Media Heavy-up Experiment,” shared with panel in May 2008.
Collection Review [ICR] 200902-0607-007) is accessible through OMB’s RegInfo web site (http://www.reginfo.gov).
As presented to the panel in early 2009, the Census Bureau’s 2010 CPEX program included four formal experiments. Since then, a fifth experiment has been added to the ranks. Box B-1 lists the experiments for ease of reference; we provide additional description (and extend commentary from our letter report, as appropriate) on the experiments in the remainder of this section.
An Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE) in which a sample of census respondents receives questionnaires that vary in content, layout, and question ordering and wording has been a staple of census experimentation since the 1950 census. In that census, 10 district offices in Ohio and Michigan were used as “experimental areas” in which—among other things—four census forms were oriented toward households as the unit of analysis and self-response by individuals, as opposed to the person-based ledgers then used by enumerators in conducting their interviewers (U.S. Census Bureau, 1955:5). The 2000 census AQE focused heavily on the effect of visual cues and narrative instructions to guide respondents through the census long-form questionnaire. It also included an experimental group that varied the instructions and formatting of the basic residence (household count) question on the census form; the National Research Council (2006:202–203) observed that this single treatment constituted “a bundle of at least 10 changes,” some major and others extremely subtle, that rendered it impossible to ferret out which features were more or less effective than others.
The 2010 AQE is planned to include 19 panels, most of which (15) involve variations to the questions on race and Hispanic origin. The experi-