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Item Nonresponse in a Mail Survey of Young Adults Luciano Viera, Jr., Scott Turner, and Sean Marsh Fors Marsh Group LLC.

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Presentation on theme: "Item Nonresponse in a Mail Survey of Young Adults Luciano Viera, Jr., Scott Turner, and Sean Marsh Fors Marsh Group LLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Item Nonresponse in a Mail Survey of Young Adults Luciano Viera, Jr., Scott Turner, and Sean Marsh Fors Marsh Group LLC

2 Overview Background – RDD Telephone Surveys: Coverage Implications Youth Poll Mail Study – Purpose and Methodology – Mail YP Frame Coverage – Data Collection Efficiency Comparison – Profile of Responders – Survey Estimate Comparison Item Nonresponse Incentive Experiment Methodology Transition 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 2

3 Background The US Department of Defense (DoD) conducts the Youth Poll (YP) to track military propensity – Tracked over the past 35 years – Critical to maintain these trend lines – Random-digit-dial (RDD) survey design – Historically, estimates have been shown to be reliable and valid For decades, RDD telephone surveying has been a cost-efficient way to survey the general public – RDD surveys are typically interviewer-administered Emerging trends are impacting the future viability of this methodology – Decreasing coverage of telephone surveys – General decrease in survey research response rates – Reduced efficiency due to coverage and nonresponse issues 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 3

4 RDD Telephone Surveys: Coverage Implications CDC study found 46% of 18- to 24-year-olds live in wireless-only households Households with a landline are different from those without a landline – Wireless-only households are more likely to be located in urban, metropolitan areas 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 4 Children with wireless service only Children with no telephone service Adults with no telephone service Percentage of Adults and Children with Only Wireless or No Telephone Service Adults with wireless service only Source: Blumberg & Luke (2011)

5 Purpose and Methodology The Youth Poll Mail Study (YPMS) conducted a series of data collection mode comparisons – Goal is to evaluate the feasibility of switching the current RDD telephone – based Youth Poll to a mail-based survey methodology – Run concurrently with RDD YP to compare coverage, nonresponse, and key metrics December 2008 June 2009 December 2009 June ITSEW – Québec, Canada 5 Mail YPRDD YP Age range Survey Interview Method Pencil & PaperCATI Sampling Single-Stage Stratified Random List-Assisted Stratified Random

6 6 Youth Poll Mail Study

7 Mail YP Frame Coverage June 2010 frame was an updated version of December 2009 frame: – Aged to remove any youth that were no longer 24 years old – Augmented using additional lists to capture youth that had just turned 16 December 2009 frame coverage – Comparison with Census estimates of the 16- to 24-year-old population indicated a 95% coverage rate, a 6 percentage point improvement from June 2009 (89%)* – Coverage of both 16- (67%) and 24-year-old (95%) youth increased substantially since June 2009 (47% and 60%, respectively) – Coverage of the West region also improved since June ITSEW – Québec, Canada 7 June 2009December 2009 Frame size33,902,40436,483,999 Coverage rate89%95% 16-year-olds47%67% 24-year-olds60%95% West Region75%84%

8 Data Collection Efficiency The Mail YP required fewer contacts to reach the target population than the RDD YP and did so at less than one-third the cost per completed interview with no additional fielding time required The Mail YPs cost per completed survey in June 2010 ($77) was lower than in December 2009 ($99) and roughly equal to that in June 2009 ($76) – Increase in costs in December 2009 was largely a result of evaluating a push-to-Web solicitation strategy that was considerably less productive 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 8 Mail YPRDD YP Length of Time to Field 2.5 months Contacts 30,000223,173 Completed Surveys 5,1194,023 Completion Rate 17%2% Cost per Completed Survey $77$273

9 Profile of Responders Demographics – Compared with the RDD YP and census estimates, respondents in the Mail YP were more educated Telephone Status – Compared with the RDD YP, respondents in Mail YP were: More likely to have a cell phone only More likely to be cell-mostly (i.e., both a landline and a cell phone who receive all or almost all of their calls on a cell phone) Less likely to have a landline only 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 9

10 Survey Estimate Comparisons Propensity estimates were statistically identical between the Mail and RDD YP – True for both overall and Service-specific propensity comparisons Mail YP tends to provide slightly lower propensity estimates than RDD YP – Finding is consistent with expectations 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 10 Key Metrics June 2010 Mail YP RDD YP General Military Propensity 10% Army Propensity 6% Navy Propensity 6% Marine Corps Propensity 5% 6% Air Force Propensity 7% Coast Guard Propensity 4% 5%

11 11 Item Nonresponse

12 June 2010 Mail YP Propensity Items 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 12

13 Item Nonresponse In the June 2010 Mail YP, Service-specific propensity grid items yielded overall missing data rate of 8% – Non-random forms of nonresponse may bias point estimates Analyzed June 2010 Mail YP data to determine: – Whether there was a pattern to the missing data; and – How refusals should be handled (e.g., multiple imputation, etc.) Pattern of nonresponse was NOT RANDOM! – Non-propensed youth were more likely to refuse answering all 12 Service-specific items – Conversely, propensed youth more likely to refuse to answer 1-11 Service-specific items, which is probably a result of their preference for a specific Service(s) ITSEW – Québec, Canada 13

14 December 2010 Administration Modified the Service-specific propensity item in the December 2010 questionnaire: Proportion of missing data reduced by half! – From June 2010, 8% missing data rates down to 4% 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 14

15 15 Incentive Experiment

16 Combining Prepaid and Promised Incentives Mail YP – Periodically conducts experiments to enhance survey quality Combining prepaid and promised incentives – Ideally, this would maximize survey quality at a reduced cost Theoretical justification – Trust is the centerpiece of social influence theory (i.e., enhancing trust facilitates the persuasion process) – Prepaid incentives may build trust such that they might magnify the positive effects of promised incentives AAPOR 2011 – Phoenix, AZ 16

17 Methodology June 2010 Experiment – Sample of 30,000 young adults ages living in US were randomly assigned to 1-of-6 conditions (5,000 each) Survey length (long vs. short) Promised incentive ($0 vs. $5 vs. $10) – Everyone received $2 cash incentive in the 1st survey invitation package Promised incentives sent to respondents that returned questionnaires – Where possible, all mailing materials sent to youth were identical AAPOR 2011 – Phoenix, AZ 17

18 Results Nonresponse – Completion rates for the short survey were higher than for long survey – Promised incentives help offset completion rate drops in long survey Key Metric Measurement – In general, point estimates similar across all the experimental conditions Efficiency – Compared with offering just a prepaid incentive, promised incentive with long survey reduces costs by approximately 18-26% per completed survey AAPOR 2011 – Phoenix, AZ 18 Short; $0 Short; $5 Short; $10 Long; $0 Long; $5 Long; $10 Completed Surveys17%19%22%12%15%18% Enrolled in School72%67%69%72%66%70% Currently Employed56%55%54%55%57%52% General Military Propensity8%9% 10% 9% Note: All estimates in this table are unweighted; 5,000 cases sampled in each condition.

19 19 Methodology Transition

20 Summary Several indicators supporting the switch to a mail-based methodology – Mail YPs existing frame coverage (95%) of the target population represented a marked improvement over existing RDD methodologies that do not capture the steadily growing number of cell phone–only young adults – Metrics compared well across survey modes Both overall and Service-specific propensity estimates were statistically identical between the Mail and RDD YP – Mail YP required fewer contacts than RDD YP to reach the target population Mail YP was less than one-third the cost per completed interview Mail YP required no additional fielding time – Mail YP is proving to be a viable vehicle for motivating higher response rates Compared with offering no contingent incentive, including a contingent incentive reduces data collection costs by approximately 18-26% per completed survey* 2011 ITSEW – Québec, Canada 20 * Figures are based on a comparison of the cost per completed survey in the $5 contingent incentive condition ($63,745 survey cost ÷ 749 completed surveys = $85.11 per completed survey) and the $10 contingent incentive condition ($68,980 survey cost ÷ 898 completed surveys = $76.82 per completed survey) vs. the $0 contingent incentive condition ($60,000 survey cost ÷ 575 completed surveys = $ per completed survey).


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