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Report on Cognitive Testing of Question to Address the Respondent Identification Policy

Theresa DeMaio and Kristen Hughes

KEY WORDS: pretesting, demographic surveys, Respondent Identification Policy, cognitive interviews, privacy concerns


To address recent increases in privacy concerns, the Census Bureau has developed a Respondent Identification Policy (RIP) guideline for household surveys that uses dependant interviewing techniques. This policy requires that interviewers can reveal personal information from a previous interview to a different household member only if the original respondent has given permission to do so.

While this policy was in the process of being implemented, the Center for Survey Methods Research was asked to cognitively test different versions of the RIP question, including the RIP question used in the 1999 Questionnaire Design Experimental Research Survey (QDERS) and the question used in the 1999 American Housing Survey - National. Because of suspected problems with the wordings of the previously used RIP questions, the staff endeavored to develop and test new questions that identified only privacy concerns as sources of refusal rather than incorrectly eliciting reports of whether other household members would be able to answer the questions or be available or willing to participate in the survey. This report contains the results of two rounds of testing that were conducted and recommendations about the RIP question for SIPP and other demographic surveys.


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

Created: 30-JUN-2003

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