At Wave 1, interviews are attempted for all members of selected housing units who are 15 years of age or older.11 The Census Bureau prefers that all SIPP sample members 15 years of age or older who are present at the time of the interview answer for themselves unless they are physically or mentally unable to do so. For those who are absent or incapable of responding, SIPP will accept a proxy interview, usually with another household respondent.
After Wave 1, the interviewer compiles (or updates) a separate household roster for each housing unit, listing all people living or staying at the unit, including anyone who may have joined the household, such as a new spouse or baby, and the dates they entered the household. The interviewer then decides whether each person is a household member by using rules that determine whether the person is a usual resident of the unit (Table 2-3). Key to SIPP data collection is identification of a reference person for the household, an owner or renter of record. The interviewer lists other people in the household according to their relationship to the reference person.
Also noted are people who left the household and their dates of departure. If some.but not all. sample members have moved since the last interview, the interviewer completes interviews at the original address and also obtains the new address(es) of the individuals who moved. For those remaining at the same address, the interviewer verifies that certain previously collected information still applies, completes the questionnaire for each person 15 years of age or older, and collects certain information for children under age 15. Information is also collected for all new household members. Movers are interviewed at their new addresses, along with other household members they are living or staying with at the time.
Most interviews conducted through 1991 were in the form of personal visits. In 1992, SIPP switched to maximum telephone interviewing to reduce costs. Wave 1, 2, and 6 interviews were still conducted in person, but other interviews were conducted by telephone to the extent possible. SIPP telephone interviews and personal visits are carried out by the same interviewer interacting with the same respondents. Interviewers typically make phone calls from their homes. For security and confidentiality reasons, they are not allowed to use cellular or cordless telephones in the interviews. If a standard telephone is not available, the interviews must be conducted face-to-face. Repeated failure to reach a respondent by telephone may also require an in-person visit to the listed address.
When respondents are not able to furnish all requested information at the interview, interviewers arrange to get the answers by telephone if the respondents are willing. Callbacks can also help correct inconsistencies found during questionnaire editing. With the 1996 redesign, computer- assisted interviewing (CAI) was begun. Thus, automatic consistency checks for selected data occur during the interview. (For more on editing and imputation, see Chapter 4 of the SIPP Users' Guide.) The 1996 redesign included a change in the method of data collection. Prior to 1996, interviewers used a paper questionnaire. Starting in 1996, however, interviewers began conducting interviews with a laptop computer. Both the paper survey and the CAI instrument have skip patterns that help the interviewer avoid asking irrelevant questions (see Chapter 3 of the SIPP Users' Guide for more on skip patterns). In the paper survey, interviewers would encounter points at which they had to look at previously given answers before deciding whether or not to ask certain questions. With CAI, the instrument skips directly to the next applicable question.Sample Design
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