Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Geronimus says black-white differences in mortality "help silence black voices in the electorate"

Do universities need more conservative thinkers?

Starr critical of risk assessment scores for sentencing

Highlights

Frey's new report explores how the changing US electorate could shape the next 5 presidential elections, 2016 to 2032

U-M's Data Science Initiative offers expanded consulting services via CSCAR

Elizabeth Bruch promoted to Associate Professor

Susan Murphy elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

Straightening the Seam Effect in Panel Surveys

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Rips, L.J., Frederick G. Conrad, and S.S. Fricker. 2003. "Straightening the Seam Effect in Panel Surveys." Public Opinion Quarterly, 67:522-554.

Panel surveys, such as the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Consumer Expenditure Survey, interview respondents every 3 or 4 months, but ask the respondents for monthly data. A typical finding in such surveys is that changes in responses to a question are relatively small for adjacent months within a reference period but much more abrupt for adjacent months across reference periods. Previous studies have attributed this "seam effect" either to underreporting of changes within the periods or to overreporting of changes across them. In the present studies, we attempt to distinguish these possibilities, using an experimental method that allows us to gauge respondents' accuracy as well as the number of times they change their answers. The studies produced seam effects and accompanying evidence for forgetting of queried information and bias toward constant responses within the reference period. In general, seam effects appear to increase as a function of the demands on memory. We also find that separating questions with the same content in the survey instrument decreases the seam effect. To account for these data, we propose a model in which respondents' answers are initially based on attempted memory retrieval. Inability to recall leads to (possibly biased) guessing or subsequent repetition of an earlier answer.

Licensed Access Link

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next