• Research on understanding mode effects, including the impact of mode on reliability and validity.

• Research leading to the development of minimal standards for call records and similar data in order to improve the management of data collection, increase response rates, and reduce nonresponse errors.

• Research on the structure and content of interviewer training as well as on the value of continued coaching of interviewers. Where possible, experiments should be supported to identify the most effective techniques.

• Research to improve the modeling of responses as well as to improve the methods to determine whether data are missing at random.

• Research on the use of auxiliary data for weighting adjustments, including whether weighting can make estimates worse (i.e., increase bias) and whether traditional weighting approaches inflate the variance of the estimates.

• Research to assist in understanding the impact of adjustment procedures on estimates other than means, proportions, and totals.

• Research on the impact that reduction of survey nonresponse would have on other error sources, such as measurement error.

• Research on how to best make a switch from the telephone survey mode (and frame) to mail, including how to ensure that the right person completes a mail survey.

• Research on the theory and practice of responsive design, including its effects on nonresponse bias, information requirements for its implementation, types of surveys for which it is most appropriate, and variance implications.


Finally, the panel recognizes the need to explore alternatives to traditional survey data collection. There are increasing suggestions that administrative data and Internet “scraping” can produce data that could substitute for surveys. The panel suggests that further research is needed to ascertain the quality of data gleaned from these sources, and makes two final recommendations:

• Research into the availability, quality, and application of administrative records to augment (or replace) survey data collections.

• Research to determine the capability of information gathered by mining the Internet to augment (or replace) official survey statistics.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement