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ACS Food Stamps Instruction Revision: Cognitive Test

Jennifer Childs, Dawn Norris, and Matthew Clifton


The Food Stamp Program is changing the program name to "Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program" or SNAP. This change went into effect on October 1, 2008, but is being adopted by different states at different times (and some states are not adopting it at all). There will be a transition period during which people will slowly become more familiar with the new program name, and the Census Bureau is working to identify appropriate changes to each survey's questions that measure participation in the Food Stamp Program. In the American Community Survey (ACS), the first modification to be implemented will be a respondent instruction on the self-administered form and an interviewer instruction on the interviewer-administered automated instruments. The objective of this research was to conduct cognitive interviews to test a change in instructions for the Food Stamps question in the American Community Survey (ACS) self-administered form. The goal was to examine respondent understanding of the instruction and ability to answer the question correctly. The report contains findings and recommendations from this study of 15 cognitive interviews in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

CITATION:Childs, Jennifer, Norris, Dawn, and Clifton, Matthew. (2009). ACS Food Stamps Instruction Revision: Cognitive Test. Statistical Research Division Study Series (Survey Methodology #2009-08). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

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

Published online: May 13, 2009
Last revised: May 7, 2009

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