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2008 Be Counted Form: Respondent Problems Encountered in Cognitive Testing

Jennifer Hunter Childs, Eleanor Gerber and Dawn Norris

KEY WORDS: Be Counted, Cognitive Testing, 2010 Census


This report documents the results of cognitive interviews conducted by the Statistical Research Division (SRD) on the 2008 Be Counted form. These interviews were conducted by staff from SRD in January and February of 2008 with the form as it was approved for use in the 2008 Dress Rehearsal. A number of problems were uncovered with the cognitive testing, particularly concerning the gathering of address data. Several respondents misreported house numbers by including house number and an abbreviated street name into the “Street Address Number” field. Respondents did not realize they would be asked to report street name separately and this caused them to repeat or cross out information on the form. Respondents who used a PO Box often supplied that information instead of their physical address. And, finally, respondents experiencing homelessness failed to mark the checkbox indicating that they did not have an address on April 1. This would cause processing problems, especially if they failed to provide a complete address, which was the case for several respondents. The other notable problem with the form was a misunderstanding of the whole/partial household question that is used for processing. Respondents answered it inconsistently and unreliably. Recommendations for revision or further testing to address these problems are contained in the report as well as final decisions on the form made by the sponsoring divisions.

CITATION: Childs, Jennifer Hunter, Eleanor Gerber, and Dawn Norris. (2009). 2008 Be Counted Form: Respondent Problems Encountered in Cognitive Testing. Statistical Research Division Research Report Series (Survey Methodology #2009-06). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

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

Published online: October 28, 2009
Last revised: September 30, 2009

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