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The Effects of Questionnaire Design Changes on Asset Income Amount Nonresponse in Waves 1 and 2 of the 2004 SIPP Panel

Jeffrey C. Moore

KEY WORDS: dependent interviewing, income amount item nonresponse, interviewer behavior, questionnaire design


Three new procedures were introduced in the 2004 panel SIPP questionnaire in an attempt to reduce asset income amount nonresponse: (1) a flexible approach to the reporting period, which allows respondents to choose the option most convenient for them; (2) an expanded use of closed-ended “range” questions for use as follow-up probes in the event of an initial nonresponse; and (3) the capability to use dependent interviewing procedures for nonresponse follow-up after wave 1. This report summarizes the impact of the new procedures on nonresponse to asset income amount items in waves 1 and 2 of the 2004 SIPP panel, through a comparison with the same estimates from the preceding (2001) SIPP panel. Major findings are as follows:

     (1)   The introduction of flexible reporting period options in 2004 seems to have had little beneficial impact on item nonresponse for asset income amounts.

     (2)   Extending the “range”-type follow-ups to cover all assets resulted in major nonresponse benefits. Asset types which acquired the range follow-ups for the first time in 2004 showed substantial declines in final wave 1 item nonresponse in 2004 compared to 2001.

     (3)   The dependent nonresponse follow-up option added in 2004 wave 2 also had a major positive impact on final nonresponse. On the negative side, however, is evidence of improper use of the dependent follow-up procedures by SIPP interviewers, resulting in very high rates of initial nonresponse.


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

Created: January 4, 2006
Last revised: January 4, 2006

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