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Sastry's 10-year study of New Orleans Katrina evacuees shows demographic differences between returning and nonreturning

Stafford says less educated, smaller investors more likely to sell off stock and lock in losses during market downturn

Chen says job fit, job happiness can be achieved over time

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Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

Mick P. Couper photo

Designing Input Fields for Non-Narrative Open-Ended Responses in Web Surveys

Publication Abstract

Couper, Mick P., Courtney Kennedy, Frederick G. Conrad, and Roger Tourangeau. 2011. "Designing Input Fields for Non-Narrative Open-Ended Responses in Web Surveys." Journal of Official Statistics, 27(1): 65-85.

Web surveys often collect information such as frequencies, currency amounts, dates, or other items requiring short structured answers in an open-ended format, typically using text boxes for input. We report on several experiments exploring design features of such input fields. We find little effect of the size of the input field on whether frequency or dollar amount answers are well-formed or not. By contrast, the use of templates to guide formatting significantly improves the well-formedness of responses to questions eliciting currency amounts. For date questions (whether month/year or month/day/year), we find that separate input fields improve the quality of responses over single input fields, while drop boxes further reduce the proportion of ill-formed answers. Drop boxes also reduce completion time when the list of responses is short (e. g., months), but marginally increases completion time when the list is long (e. g., birth dates). These results suggest that non-narrative open questions can be designed to help guide respondents to provide answers in the desired format.

PMCID: PMC3570266. (Pub Med Central)

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