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Final Report of Cognitive Research on the New Computer Crime Questions for the 2001 National Crime Victimization Survey

Kristen Hughes and Theresa DeMaio

KEY WORDS: pretesting; computers; crime; NCVS; cognitive interviews


The Bureau of Justice Statistics proposed new questions on computer crime for inclusion in the 2001 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The Center for Survey Methods Research was asked to conduct an expert review and pretest these questions. In this report, we describe the methods used to conduct the research, the item-by-item results, including recommendations based on the findings, and documentation of the sponsorís response to the recommendations.

General findings included that respondents were inconsistent in their interpretation of what kind of computer use was intended to be captured by the questions. Many respondents thought only computer use at home was intended, and only included their home computer(s) even if they also used other computers for personal use. Other respondents thought the questions referred to all computer use and included work and school computers. Still other respondents included only their home computer(s) in some questions and included their work computers in other questions. The recommendations contained within the report assume that the intent of these questions is to capture all personal use of a computer, regardless of where it occurs. Thus, the revisions that are proposed attempt to clarify this intent and to provide a consistent interpretation throughout the series.


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

Created: 08-May-2003

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