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Comparing Pretesting Methods: Cognitive Interviews, Respondent Debriefing, and Behavior Coding

Kristen Ann Hughes


This paper will compare three methods of pretesting using the same version of a series of computer-crime questions from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). These three methods are: cognitive interviewing, respondent debriefing, and behavior coding. First, a round of cognitive interviews were conducted in the lab. Next, several types of debriefing questions, including open-ended and close-ended response options, followed the administration of the NCVS interviews in the field. These interviews were audio-taped at random for later use in the behavior coding. Finally, a coding scheme was developed to quantify the problems that were identified in the cognitive interviews and to categorize the problems identified in the remaining debriefing questions and behavior coding. Analysis of this data was used to determine if each of the three methods revealed similar or different results. This paper will conclude with a discussion of the relationship between the results of the cognitive interviews, respondent debriefing, and behavior coding.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Created: 29-SEP-2004

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or chad.eric.russell@census.gov) |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010