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Report on Cognitive Pretesting of the Census 2010 Mailing Package Materials

Theresa DeMaio, Jennifer Beck, and Laurel Schwede



As part of the mailing strategy for Census 2010, respondents will receive an advance letter, the census questionnaire mailing package that includes a cover letter, a reminder postcard, and a replacement questionnaire mailing package targeted to mail non-respondents. These mailing pieces are an essential part of the communication strategy. Their goal is to provide informational and motivational messages that will persuade people to complete the census form and mail it back. The materials developed for Census 2010 were subjected to two phases of pretesting. First, the four communications to respondents (advance letter, initial cover letter, reminder postcard, and replacement cover letter) were pretested through cognitive testing. Respondents were given each mailing piece separately and asked to read it, before being probed about their reactions. Second, all the components of the initial census mailing package were tested by giving the package to respondents and observing their reactions and behaviors. This report contains the results of both phases of testing. First, we present the methods and results of Phase 1, which tested the advance letter, initial cover letter, reminder postcard, and replacement cover letter. Then we provide the results of the testing of the initial mailing package, including the outgoing envelope, cover letter, questionnaire, and return envelope in Phase 2.

CITATION: DeMaio,Theresa, Beck, Jennifer, and Schwede, Laurel. Report on Cognitive Pretesting of the Census 2010 Mailing Package Materials. Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2008-12). U.S. Census Bureau.

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

Created: October 20, 2008
Last revised: June 23, 2008

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