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Cleo R. Jenkins

KEY WORDS: Questionnaire Design, Cognitive Interviews


This research is part of the U.S. Bureau of the Census' continuing effort to design decennial short forms that are respondent friendly, machine imagable, and cost efficient. In 1995, Two Twelve Associates, a graphic design firm, was commissioned to independently develop two newly designed forms. These forms, along with the latest in- house form, were subjected to both an in-depth pretest using cognitive interviewing methods and a national mailout/mailback test, designated the 1996 National Content Survey (NCS). Based on the results of the cognitive interviews, and whatever NCS results that were available at the time, and technical and cost considerations, Two Twelve was again commissioned to develop two forms. This time, however, the forms were developed in a collaborative effort with the Census Bureau (rather than independently, as above). One of the greatest achievements with the second set of forms was the success with which respondents were able to navigate through them in cognitive interviews. This paper will describe the changes that went into making the second set of forms a navigational success.

Citation: 1997, Proceedings of the Section on Survey Research Methods, Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association.

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