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Results and Recommendations from Cognitive Interviews with the Employment History Topical Module to the Survey of Income and Program Participation

Ashley Landreth

KEY WORDS: pretesting, SIPP, employment history, cognitive interviews


Staff conducted cognitive testing of the revised Employment History Topical Module prior to fielding it as part of the SIPP Methods Panel testing. The testing showed that the instrument seemed to successfully capture aspects of respondents' entry into the labor force and recent employment history. Recalling the year and month for previous work history was not particularly burdensome for respondents when these events were within the past year or two, and they successfully used a variety of cues (e.g., season of the year, major life event) to formulate their responses. This burden is increased for respondents whose events are temporarily distant and/or not associated with a salient event, and whose work histories are lengthy and complex. One of the most difficult response tasks was estimating the total time spent out of the labor force for spells of six months or longer, especially for those in the increased response burden categories. This report documents problems identified question by question, and makes suggestions for questionnaire revisions.

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

Created: 26-JUL-2003

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