Gaining Cooperation with the Current Population Survey:
Subjective Experiences from the Field
Jennifer Beck, Tommy Wright, Tom Petkunas
KEY WORDS: gaining cooperation, field experiences, CPS
Decreasing response rates to federally sponsored surveys has become a key issue for methodological researchers. As the public becomes more reluctant to participate in federal surveys, the costs of collecting those statistical data increase and the quality of those data potentially could decrease. The current report focuses on gaining respondent cooperation with Census Bureau surveys. We present results from some exploratory research designed to illuminate the challenges and successes of gaining respondent cooperation from an “in the field” perspective. We asked field supervisory staff (Study 1) and survey interviewers (Study 2), to describe their subjective recommendations for behaviors that are successful at gaining respondent cooperation, and behaviors that are not successful at gaining respondent cooperation with a large-scale federal survey. Our participants reported behaviors that tended to fall into four broad categories: 1) administrative, task oriented behaviors that focused on case management, organization, and scheduling; 2) self-directed behaviors that focused on appearance and attitude; 3) interview behaviors that focused on interactions with a potential respondent, and 4) behaviors, attitudes, and recommendations that were overly broad and general, such as “being aggressive.” Across both studies, both the supervisory staff and the interviewers tended to report more behaviors that were successful at gaining cooperation than behaviors that were unsuccessful at gaining cooperation. Supervisory staff also tended to focus their recommendations on more administrative, task-oriented behaviors than any of the other types of behaviors. In contrast, the interviewers tended to focus their recommendations on interactive interview behaviors than any of the other types of behavior. We intend to use the results of these exploratory studies to help define future research experiments that will evaluate the effectiveness of specific gaining cooperation behaviors across a broad spectrum of interview situations.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division
Created: September 27, 2007
Last revised: September 27, 2007
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