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NCVS Pretesting Activities on the Proposed Internet Predation Questions: Focus Group Results

Jennifer Beck

KEY WORDS: pretesting, focus groups, Internet predation


Staff from the Statistical Research Division conducted additional pretesting research on the newly-proposed Internet Predation questions for the 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey. This report presents the results of two focus groups. An initial round of cognitive interviews (SSM # 2007-20) identified significant problems with the proposed questions. Respondents had ambiguous conceptualizations of different Internet activities, and these “blurry concepts” led to critical response errors. As a result of these findings, we conducted two focus groups, one group of girls and one group of boys, to get a better understanding of how respondents think about their Internet activities. The results of these focus groups revealed that the term used to refer to sites like MySpace and Facebook (“online communities”) in the original questions was not accurately communicating the desired concept, and, therefore, led to response errors. The focus groups helped us determine a more appropriate term for these types of sites (“social networking sites”). The focus groups also helped us to find more information on online gaming activities that led us to include this activity in the questions. Finally, we observed that respondents may not report online stranger contact if the relationship eventually develops into “offline” communication and the respondent has a certain degree of trust in that person. These results and the results of the previous round of cognitive interviews will help us to revise these questions for further pretesting research.

CITATION: Beck, Jennifer. NCVS Pretesting Activities on the Proposed Internet Predation Questions: Focus Group Results . Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2008-08). U.S. Census Bureau.

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

Created: September 30, 2008
Last revised: November 20, 2007

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