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SIPP Advance Letter Research: Cognitive Interview Results, Implications, & Letter Recommendations

SM2001-01
Ashley Landreth
Component ID: #ti2002796435

Executive Summary

This report documents research regarding the revised advance letter used for the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The main goal was to create a pretested, quality introductory letter that balanced both the Census Bureau’s disclosure requirements and respondent’s most common initial inquiries and concerns. It was expected that portions of the revised letter would serve as a prototype or template for advance letters from other demographic surveys conducted by the Census Bureau.

After a series of focus groups, a revised advance letter was created and cognitive interviews were conducted in an effort to evaluate respondents’ comprehension and perception of the letter’s revised content and presentation. Modified letters emerged and were e valuated through iterative rounds of pretesting. The numbered sections below briefly outline important aspects of the entire research process: 1) issues identified in the original SIPP advance letter; 2) strategies used to create the revised letter; and 3) main findings from iterative rounds of cognitive interviewing with several versions of the revised letter. The recommended SIPP advance letter, based on the results of pretesting, follows part three below.

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