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Cognitive Pretesting of 2010 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE) Race and Hispanic Origin Questionnaires Translated Into Spanish

Rodney L. Terry and Marissa Fond


Race; Hispanic Origin; Cognitive Interview; Spanish; Translation


During the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted several experiments to explore alternate content and ways to enhance data quality for the 2020 Census. One of these experiments is the race and Hispanic origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE), which tested alternate content regarding race and Hispanic origin for the 2010 Census mail questionnaire. In an interdivisional project with the Decennial Management Division, Decennial Statistical Studies Division, and Population Division, the Center for Survey Measurement conducted cognitive pretesting for eight of the AQE questionnaires with race and Hispanic origin questions that were translated into the Spanish language. Three alternative translations of the original eight questionnaires were also pretested, for a total of 11 questionnaires pretested.

Findings from a sample of 33 Spanish-speaking respondents include: (1) for the separate race and Hispanic origin question formats, almost all respondents were able to select a Hispanic origin, however, most respondents had difficulty selecting a race category; (2) for all formats, the majority of respondent feedback consisted of difficulty with figuring out how to properly respond to the questions as they were presented, with few opinions about the subtle grammatical details of the questions; (3) respondents with children born in America had difficulty reporting a Hispanic origin for their children; and (4) the most-preferred questionnaires were a combined race and Hispanic origin question that allowed write-in origin lines for most or all of the main race and Hispanic origin categories (i.e., questionnaires X2, X2a, X3, and X3a). These results will be used in conjunction with results from AQE Focus Groups with Spanish-speaking respondents to aid in analysis of the Spanish language AQE forms.


Rodney L. Terry and Marissa Fond. (2011). Cognitive Pretesting of 2010 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE) Race and Hispanic Origin Questionnaires Translated Into. Center for Survey Measurement, Research and Methodology Directorate (Survey Methodology #2011-11). U.S. Census Bureau. Available online at <>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Statistical Research & Methodology

Published online: September 22, 2011
Last revised: September 22, 2011


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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Center for Statistical Research & Methodology | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: September 11, 2013