Indicators for the representativeness of survey response - ARCHIVED

Articles and reports: 12-001-X200900110887


Many survey organisations focus on the response rate as being the quality indicator for the impact of non-response bias. As a consequence, they implement a variety of measures to reduce non-response or to maintain response at some acceptable level. However, response rates alone are not good indicators of non-response bias. In general, higher response rates do not imply smaller non-response bias. The literature gives many examples of this (e.g., Groves and Peytcheva 2006, Keeter, Miller, Kohut, Groves and Presser 2000, Schouten 2004).

We introduce a number of concepts and an indicator to assess the similarity between the response and the sample of a survey. Such quality indicators, which we call R-indicators, may serve as counterparts to survey response rates and are primarily directed at evaluating the non-response bias. These indicators may facilitate analysis of survey response over time, between various fieldwork strategies or data collection modes. We apply the R-indicators to two practical examples.

Issue Number: 2009001
Author(s): Bethlehem, Jelke; Cobben, Fannie; Schouten, Barry

Main Product: Survey Methodology

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PDFJune 22, 2009