expenditures for the preceding month involved substantial net forward telescoping of jobs into the recall period” (Neter and Waksberg, 1964, p. 43). The authors also concluded that shorter reference periods (1 month rather than 3 months) produced higher estimates of expenditures.
Because of the potential for telescoping, the NCVS originally did not use the data collected in its first wave in the estimation of criminal victimization. It currently uses data from initial interviews, with an adjustment to minimize overreporting during these initial contacts. (The adjustments are described in the “Estimation and Products” section in Chapter 4.)
In a recent analysis of NCVS data to look at the issues of telescoping, the role of the bounding interview, recency, and time-in-sample, Fay and Li (2010) found mixed results. More crimes were reported as having occurred in the month immediately preceding the interview than in other months in the reference period. The authors found that this “recency effect” is greater for violent crime than property crime. They concluded (Fay and Li, 2010, p. 1698):
[T]he evidence presented here would encourage a re-examination of the issue of telescoping and the role of the bounding interview, … however, we recognize that BJS certainly has good reason to maintain the status quo for now, until other changes in the design are implemented in the future.
The panel strongly supports the need for further research. The appropriate reference period for recalling incidents of rape and sexual assault may be longer than for other criminal victimizations. Time-in-sample analysis may indicate the need for a survey with fewer waves.
Until more definitive work is done, the panel recommends the continuing use of bounded recall procedures. However, the panel has serious concerns about the current adjustments to first wave data to compensate for potential telescoping.
RECOMMENDATION 10-4 The recommended new survey should have a longitudinal structure with at least two waves to allow the use of bounded recall. Research should be conducted to determine an optimal length of reference period specifically for reporting rape and sexual assault victimizations. The Bureau of Justice Statistics should reassess the methodology used to adjust for forward telescoping if data from the bounding interview are used in estimation.
Neutral Context with Behaviorally Specific Wording
Concern about the context of crime in the NCVS and the use of terms such as “rape” and “sexual assault,” and their potential effect to inhibit