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Results and Recommendations from the Cognitive Pretesting of the 2003 SIPP Welfare Reform Module

Jennifer Hunter and Kristen Hughes

KEY WORDS: pretesting, SIPP, welfare, cognitive interviews


Staff in the Statistical Research Division conducted cognitive research on the draft questionnaire for the 2003 SIPP Welfare Reform Module. Several changes were recommended, and most were accepted by the sponsor. Specifically, it was noted that the respondents were not aware of some benefits, such as job subsidies. Job subsidies are indirect benefits, as the respondents' employers receive assistance, which allows them to be employed. Respondents who were in this situation could not accurately report on it; however, the sponsor deemed the question necessary and chose to keep it. Respondents were not familiar with the concept of workfare or unpaid jobs. To remedy this misunderstanding, the wording was changed to ask about work in exchange for benefits or to gain experience, which was the intended meaning. Misunderstandings in several other questions lead to minor wording changes and, in one case, a change in the universe. These changes are documented in the report.

Other areas of the SIPP core that respondents had difficulty with were also documented, but no changes to the core were accepted by the sponsor. Respondents were not familiar with General Assistance or General Relief. Most did not know that they were, in fact, receiving Medicaid. The medical assistance program is known by different names in the states where the interviews were conducted (Washington and Pennsylvania). Some respondents were unsure whether the housing assistance they received was from Section 8 or a local housing authority.

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

Created: 26-JUL-2003

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