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Campus Climate Surveys of Sexual Misconduct: Limiting the Risk of Nonresponse Bias

Publication Abstract

PDF Axinn, William G., James Wagner, Mick P. Couper, and Scott Crawford. 2018. "Campus Climate Surveys of Sexual Misconduct: Limiting the Risk of Nonresponse Bias." PSC Research Report No. 18-887. 2 2018.

High attention to campus surveys of sexual misconduct has raised concerns about the potential of nonresponse bias in data from these surveys. Best practices in survey methodology offer many options to limit nonresponse. Here we examine two of the most potent options: individual incentives for participation and two-phase survey designs that alter the method of contact. Analyzing data from the University of Michigan's 2015 campus climate survey we demonstrate that a two-phase design introducing telephone and face-to-face reminders to complete the survey can produce stronger change in response rates, characteristics of those who respond, and statistical estimates than higher incentive levels. Cost comparison also reveals use of trained interviewers to contact students can be more efficient than higher incentive levels.

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