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Privacy Concerns, Too Busy, or Just Not Interested: Using Doorstep Concerns to Predict Survey Nonresponse

Publication Abstract

Bates, Nancy, James Dahlhamer, and Eleanor Singer. 2008. "Privacy Concerns, Too Busy, or Just Not Interested: Using Doorstep Concerns to Predict Survey Nonresponse." Journal of Official Statistics, 24(4): 591-612.

Using newly available paradata, this article explores the use of “doorstep concerns” to predict interim and final refusals in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Using ten weeks of automated contact history records, we analyze privacy and burden concerns but also examine other verbal and nonverbal interactions recorded by interviewers during contact with households. We conduct a multi-model multinomial logit analysis starting with a social environmental model (e.g., region, urbanicity), followed by the addition of process variables (e.g., number of noncontacts, mode of contact), and finally include the new household-level doorstep concerns (e.g., privacy concerns, too busy). The study found that the doorstep concerns greatly improved models predicting nonresponse relative to models including only environmental variables and basic contact history measures. Privacy concerns were significant in predicting interim refusals, but not final refusals. The effects of burden differed depending upon the particular doorstep concern used as an indicator of burden.

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