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The potential of a multi-mode data collection design to reduce non response bias. The case of a survey of employers

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  • Emanuela Sala

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  • Peter Lynn

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to compare two alternative survey designs in terms of resultant response rates, non response bias and cost. The first design is a simple postal survey with follow-up mailings; the second design is a two-phase multi-mode design, where the postal survey is followed at the second phase by a telephone survey of non-respondents. We present a case study based on a survey of employers. In this study we find evidence that the sample obtained using only postal methods is biased in important respects. Bias is not apparent in the demographic characteristics of the employees. But bias is observed in some of the employees’ employment characteristics and some of the characteristics of the firms in which they work. The multi mode design seems, overall, to have reduced or removed the bias of the postal sample. Only in marginal respects was some further bias introduced. We also compare costs of the two designs, to enable a comparison of cost-effectiveness at bias reduction. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Suggested Citation

  • Emanuela Sala & Peter Lynn, 2009. "The potential of a multi-mode data collection design to reduce non response bias. The case of a survey of employers," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 123-136, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:43:y:2009:i:1:p:123-136
    DOI: 10.1007/s11135-007-9148-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lynn, Peter & Sala, Emanuela, 2004. "The contact and response process in business surveys: lessons from a multimode survey of employers in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-12, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Lynn, Peter & Jäckle, Annette & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Sala, Emanuela, 2004. "The impact of interviewing method on measurement error in panel survey measures of benefit receipt: evidence from a validation study," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-28, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Jäckle, Annette & Lynn, Peter, 2004. "Dependent interviewing and seam effects in work history data," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-24, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Lynn, Peter & Jäckle, Annette & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Sala, Emanuela, 2004. "The effects of dependent interviewing on responses to questions on income sources," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-16, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Stephen P. Jenkins & Lorenzo Cappellari & Peter Lynn & Annette Jäckle & Emanuela Sala, 2006. "Patterns of consent: evidence from a general household survey," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(4), pages 701-722.
    6. Sala, Emanuela & Lynn, Peter, 2004. "Measuring change in employment characteristics: the effects of dependent interviewing," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-26, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Jäckle, Annette & Sala, Emanuela & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Lynn, Peter, 2004. "Validation of survey data on income and employment: the ISMIE experience," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-14, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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