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Edward J.Welniak Jr., Amanda R. Noss, Kirby G. Posey
Component ID: #ti805405568

Test Objective

In late August through mid-December 2010, the Census Bureau conducted a field test of new and revised content in the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) Content Test. The results of that testing will help determine the content to be incorporated into production ACS in 2013 or 2014.

Research shows that respondents have difficulties remembering all the information read to them in a single, verbose question (Webster, 2006). If a question contains a long list of components or concepts for respondents to consider, respondents tend to focus on the last items in the list and forget the others when the list is presented orally. In the case of the ACS Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) wage and salary recipiency question, respondents are asked if they received wages, salary, commissions, bonuses or tips. We believe respondents are focusing on reporting whether they received bonuses or tips and missing the reporting of wages and salary. We have anecdotal evidence to support this belief. While observing ACS interviews we noted that respondents report having a wage/salary job but report having no “wages, salary, tips, bonuses, or commissions” from that job. Therefore, changes were made to the CATI/CAPI questions only for this test. However, the analysis studies the impact on the full item since we do not publish ACS data by mode.


Ultimately the results found an increase in wage recipiency for CATI mode. The NDR  for CATI/CAPI combined and CAPI significantly decreased. The test version median  estimates of wages income was significantly higher than the control. Several negative  results include that item missing data rates for wages amounts and recipiency increased  overall. Missing data rates were significantly higher for the CATI/CAPI and CAPI only  version. Item missing data rates were also higher for wage recipiency overall as well.  By mode item missing data rates were significantly higher for CATI/CAPI individually and combined. Based on these results it was recommended to implement the test version.

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