important areas for further research and assist in their prioritization. Below, the pathways for further research are divided into those needed to inform improvements to the surveys and those needed to inform the general design that has been suggested.
Research Needed to Support the CE Redesign
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will need to conduct research to support and inform the redesign and its implementation. The panel recommends the use of tablet technology as an important new technology for collection of expenditure data, and there are numerous aspects of its implementation that require evaluation. The panel also recommends the collection of fewer, less detailed, expenditure categories in two of the prototypes, which requires evaluation of how this structure can be used to compute the CPI and how to best collect these data. The panel also recommends research on several other promising areas that may lead to further improvements of the survey to reduce burden and help obtain better quality data, presented in a separate subsection
This is by no means a comprehensive list of research areas, but an identification of several areas that need additional research, related to implementation of the proposed designs.
Use of a tablet device. All three of the proposed designs recommend the use of a tablet device. There are numerous potential benefits in using a tablet, yet they depend on how a device is selected and implemented. Even the overall advantage of a tablet over a paper instrument is an assertion that needs to be evaluated rather than taken for granted.
The highest priority research is an evaluation of the tablet technology. Criteria may include the utility, interface, robustness, data storage, transmission, and cost. Related to this is an evaluation of the optimum type of interface. The panel recommends one resembling the TurboTax model, which features separate modules that can be selected in any order and provides the respondent with an option to enter information directly into a form or to do so through a structured conversational guide. Other types of interfaces are possible, such as one that more closely aligns with a typical survey questionnaire or an interface that is more like an event history calendar. Conditional on a selected interface design, experimentation with different visual design elements that provide visually appealing and easy-to-understand features will also be beneficial. Whatever the interface design, it needs to have a self-evident navigation, as in mobile apps.
Experimentation with the structure of the instrument will also be needed. For example, the instrument can be modularized by type of expenditure (e.g., food, clothing), it can have a linear structure (e.g., reporting all