ated analysis that goes beyond concentrating efforts on the specific survey one happens to be working on.
In Abraham’s view, an overarching model, such as the matrix idea, would provide additional incentive for a discussion about what types of estimates are appropriate for federal statistical agencies to be generating. Sondik added that the lack of resources and capacity to produce needed small-area estimates should focus attention on defining core measures and indicators.
Kalton observed that Don Dillman’s discussion of mixed-mode surveys becomes especially relevant in the context of integration among surveys. Although research has explored the effects of mixed-mode data collection within a survey, less is known about the consequences of combining data from two surveys that are conducted through different modes. The discussion of the disability measures illustrated that estimates are not necessarily the same, even when the questions are the same, and this could in part be due to a mode effect.
Kalton made the point that surveys that use other surveys as a source of sampling for rare populations could make better use of the information available from the source if there was more attention paid to coordinating content as well. In other words, if the new survey was thought of as an extension of the existing survey, then the data could be combined and used for purposes beyond what is possible with the individual surveys.
Thinking about the possibilities of linking surveys can extend beyond research domains, according to Stern. He made the point that currently surveys that rely on other surveys as a source of sample tend to do so within the same domain. An example of this is the relationship between the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Other major benefits are possible in looking beyond the institutional boundaries and to other disciplines.
According to Sondik, a report on developing key national indicators for children—which recognized that to accomplish this goal required going beyond established domains—is an example that could apply in a variety of areas, including health, education, and the economic situation. This recognition could inform more of what is done and lead to a focus on the critical information needed to serve as benchmarks. For example, the NHIS could also pick up basic information related to education and housing, in addition to its current content.
Abraham said that the initiatives in the area of administrative records also fit well with this model if one thinks beyond survey integration to envision data integration, in which administrative records are contributing an important piece. She encouraged the participants to be bold in moving forward.