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Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology: Building a Bridge Between Disciplines Report of the Advanced Research Seminar on Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology Thomas B. Jabine, Miron L. Straf. Judith M. Tanur. and Roger Tourangeau Editors Committee on National Statistics Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1984

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NOTICE: lrhe pro ject that is the sub ject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine . lathe members of the commit tee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the Nat tonal Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The Nat tonal Research Council was establ ished by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy' ~ purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government . I he Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which established the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the Nat ~ anal Academy of Sciences and the Nat tonal Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered Jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. lathe National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. Available from: Committee on National Statistics Nat tonal Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D . C . 204 ~ ~ Printed in the United States of America

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CONTENTS PARTICIPANTS AND GUESTS, ADVANCED RESEARCH SEMINAR ON COGNITIVE ASPECTS OF SURVEY METHODOLOGY COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS PREFACE CHAPTER 1 THE SEMINAR Background, ~ Introduction, 3 Surveys as a Vehicle for Cognitive Research, 6 Improving Survey Methods, TO Issues for the National Health Interview Survey, 21 CHAPTER 2 AFTER THE SEMINAR Laboratory-Based Research on the Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology, 26 Center for Health Statistics (Monroe Sirken and Robert Fucheberg) Cognitive Processes in Survey Responding: Project Summaries, 35 Roger Tourangeau, William Salter, Roy D'Andrade, Normal 8radburn, and associates The Intersection of Personal and National History, 38 Howard Schuman and Philip Converse A Proposal for the Development of a National Memory Inventory, 44 Endel Tulving and S. James Press Protocol Analysis of Responses to Survey Recall Questions, 61 Elizabeth Loftus Thoughts and Research on Estimates About Past and Future Behavior, 65 Lee Ross Outreach Activities, 69 iii vii ix 1 25

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APPENDIX A BACKGROUND PAPERS Cognit ive Sciences and Survey Methods, 73 Roger Tourangeau Potential Contributions of Cognitive Research to Survey Questionnaire Design, ~ O ~ Norman Bradburn and Catalina Danis Record Checks for Sample Surveys, ~ 30 Kent Marquis APPENDIX B DESIGNING AND BUILDING THE BRIDGE APPENDIX C BACKGROUND MATERIALS FOR THE SEMINAR APPENDIX D BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PARTICIPANTS INDEX 71 149 157 165 171 iv

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ADVANCED RESEARCH SEMINAR ON COGNITIVE ASPECTS OF SURVEY METHODOLOGY PARTICIPANTS JUDITH M. TANUR (Chair), Department of Sociology, State University of New York, Stony Brook NORMAN M. BRADBURN, National Opinion Research Center, Chicago PHILIP E. CONVERSE, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan ROY G. D'ANDRADE, Department of Anthropology, University of Cal if ornia, San Diego STEPHEN E. FIENBERG, Department of Statistics, Carne~;ie-Mellon University ROBERT F,UCHSBERG, National Center for Health Statistics, (t, S. Department of Health and Human Services THOMAS B. JABINE, Consultant, Committee on National Statistics WILLETT KEMPTON, Institute of Psychology, university of Washington ALBERT MADANSKY, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago ROBERT MANGOLD, Bureau of the Census, U. S. Department of Commerce KENT MARQUIS, Bureau of the Census, U. S. Department of Co~erce ANDREW ORTONY, Center for the Study of Reading, University of. Illinois S. JAMES PRESS, Department of Statistics, University of California, Riverside LEE ROSS, Department of Psychology, Stanford University LILLIAN J. SALTER, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc. HOWARD SCHUMAN, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan MONPOE (I. SIRKEN, National Center for Health Statistics, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services ANNE M. SPRAGUE, Administrative Secretary, Committee on National Statistics MIRON L. STRAP, Research Director, Committee on National Statistics ROGER TOURANGEAU, National Opinion Research Cent er, New York ENDEL TUL1JING, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Biographical sketches of seminar participants appear in Appendix D. GUESTS MURRAY ABORN, National Science Foundation EARL F. BRYANT, National Center for Health Statistics, IJ. S. Department of Heal th and Human Serv ices v

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JACOB J. FELDMAN, National Center for Health Statistics, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services GARY G. ROCH, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina DAWN W. NELSON, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce SARA B. NERLOVE, National Science Foundation ROBERT PEARSON' Social Science Research Council PHILLIP STONE, Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University RA1lIERINE K. WALLMAN, Council of Professional Associ ations on Federal Statistics THOMAS C. WALSH, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce vi

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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS STEPHEN E. FIENBERG (Chair), Department of Statistics, Carnegie-Mellon University LEO BREIMAN, Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley JOEL E. COHEN, Laboratory of Populations, The Rockefeller University WAYNE A. FULLER, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University F. THOMAS JUSTER, Institute of Social Research, University of Michigan GARY G. KOCH, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina PAUL METER, Department of Statistics, University of Chicago JANE A. MENKEN, Office of Population Research, Princeton University LINCOLN E. MOSES, Department of Statistics, Stanford University JOHN W. PRATT, Graduate School of Busi ness, Harvard University CHRISTOPHER A. SIMS, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota BURTON H. SINGER, Department of Statistics, Columbia University COURTENAY M. SLATER, CEC Associates, Washington, D. C. JUDITH M. TALUS, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Stony Brook EDWIN D. GOLDFIELD, Executive Director MIRON L. STRAP, Research Director Hi

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PREFACE Cross-disciplinary collaboration is difficult. Practitioners from different disciplines could be said to live in different cultures. They see different things as important (or trivial); they use different research techniques; they have different backgrounds of understood and taken-for-granted knowledge; and they have knowledge of different specific languages in which the specialized terms of one discipline may be meaningless to another--or worse, have well-defined but differing meanings in the other discipline. Thus the comingling of disciplines can give rise to culture shock, resulting in either bewilderment and apathy or in ethnocentrism, but in either case yielding communication failure and resulting frustration. Yet Boat of us agree that collaboration between pract it loners trained in different disciplines can engender research projects that have exceptional promise, both for enriching the cultures of the parent disciplines and for creating a hybrid culture that attains its own viability and establishes its own research tradition. But how are the cultural barriers between disciplines to be overcome? The following pages report on what we consider an experiment in encouraging crosn-disciplinary collaboration. While the Advanced Research Seminar on Cognitive Aspects of Surrey Methodology--CAS`-was surely not an experiment in the statistical sense of the term, consonant with the cros-Q-disciplinary awns of the project, we shall continue to call it an experiment. The results of the experiment are not Yet in. Indeed we shall have to wait some yearn to see whether a whole new rhea arisen; only a few project ~ are carried out; or the seminar becomes merely a fond memory for the participants, little influencing their own work or that of others. But the early prospects for our results seem bright. The body of this report sketches many ideas for collaborative research that arose during the seminar and outlines some more fully formed projects that CASH participants plan to undertake. We hope that these are only the first artifacts of the comingled culture created by the seminar. Thus, while we are not yet able to state definitively whether our experiment was a success or something less, we can see already that some progress has been made in disciplinary cro~-fertilization. We present these results in the hope that readers will see the new field as one in which they might wish to carry out research and perhaps even take up some of our ideas. We have been reporting on the seminar at trar'ous professional meetings ix

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and In various journals, as outlined at the end of Chapter 2. We are proselytizing. Further, we hope that readers planning other cross-disciplinary endeavors may find in our experiment some guidance for procedures. To this end, Appendix B of our report details the steps we took and the ingredients we sought in order to maximize the possibility of a favorable result of our experiment. Let me briefly sketch those steps and ingredients here. Clearly, the most important ingredient is the people who participated in the experiment. Our effort had the benefit of participation by top-flight researchers in several of the cognitive sciences, survey methodology, and applied statistics, as well as dedicated participants from the government agencies involved--the Bureau of the Census and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)--and an enormously competent staff. (Note that these categories are by no means mutually exclusive; see Appendix D for biographical sketches of participants.) Second, what is needed is willingness to work hard and time in which to get the work done. Staff devoted much time before the meeting of the seminar to inviting participants, to assembling (and in some cases, preparing) background material, and to detailed and careful planning and coordination of an agenda and of social events. During the seminar, their efforts an rapporteurs kept all participants informed of everyone's progress. Participants were asked to give time beforehand to familiarize themselves with the background materials, to spend almost a week together at the seminar, to spend time after the seminar reviewing draft reports and writing up research plane, and to reassemble seven months later to review their progress. (See Appendix A for the background papers prepared for the seminar and Appendix C for a list of other background materials.) A third ingredient is what might be called the ambiance of the seminar meeting. We were together first in an attractive setting, St. Michaels, Maryland, many miles both from our offices and urban distractions or other intellectual intrusions. Our discussion~--formal and informal--often continued late into the night. Feelings of trust, intellectual respect, friendship, and tolerance for idiosyncrasies grew, and with them the excitement of shared research ideas and prospects. We had been warned that people from different disciplines would not listen to each other, but we developed a vocabulary that made cross-disciplinary communication not only possible but inviting; the image of a newly formed common culture is only slightly exaggerated. One example of the acculturation is supplied by a participant who Joined the enterprise with a research agenda that was advertised an unalterable by any outcome of the seminar. By the time the seminar reconvened in Baltimore six months later, this participant had actually carried out research to test some ideas generated at St. Michaels. Thus we feel we can write a prescription to maximize the chances of success in cron~-disciplinary collaboration. Through the support and vision of the National Science Foundation (especially from Murray Aborn) and the efforts of members and staff of the Committee on National Statistics (especially chair Stephen Fienberg and Miron Straf), together with an informal group of advisers (who came to be known as friends of the seminar and included, especially, Robert Abelson and Phillip Stone), x

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we were able to assemble an excellent group of participants. Detailed planning (by all of those already listed and especially by Tom Jabine and the authors of the formal background papers--Norman Bradburn, Catalina Danis, and Roger Tourangeau) provided an appropriate and stimulating agenda for the participants. Preparatory work by the NCHS in supplying background materials and the survey instruments for the National Health Interview Survey and by the Census Bureau in interviewing participants gave us further common experiences to draw upon in our discussions. The participants themselves worked very hard in an atmosphere ideally conducive to the encouragement of cross-disciplinary collaboration. The volunteer respondents who consented to the videotaping of an interview using the NHIS questionnaire must remain anonymous and thus cannot be singled out for thanks. They should know, neverthe~ ess, that their contribution was invaluable in providing the participants with a shared resource that was used repeatedly in our discussions. All of these contributors--and others too numerous to mention but who were enormously helpful--receive heartfelt thanks from me as chair of the seminar. My fond hope is that their efforts will be so successful that they will also earn the gratitude of practitioners of the new cross-disciplinary research tradition they will have helped to start. Judith M. Tanur Montauk, New York June 14, 1984 xi

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