High response rates have traditionally been considered as one ofthe main indicators of survey quality. Obtaining high responserates is sometimes difficult and expensive, but clearly plays abeneficial role in terms of improving data quality. It is becomingincreasingly clear, however, that simply boosting response toachieve a higher response rate will not in itself eradicatenonresponse bias. In this book the authors argue that high responserates should not be seen as a goal in themselves, but rather aspart of an overall survey quality strategy based on randomprobability sampling and aimed at minimising nonresponse bias. Key features of Improving Survey Response: * A detailed coverage of nonresponse issues, including a uniqueexamination of cross-national survey nonresponse processes andoutcomes. * A discussion of the potential causes of nonresponse andpractical strategies to combat it. * A detailed examination of the impact of nonresponse and oftechniques for adjusting for it once it has occurred. * Examples of best practices and experiments drawn from 25European countries.
* Supplemented by the European Social Survey (ESS) websites,containing materials for the measurement and analysis ofnonresponse based on detailed country-level response processdatasets. The book is designed to help survey researchers and thosecommissioning surveys by explaining how to prioritise the reductionof nonresponse bias rather than focusing on increasing the overallresponse rate. It shows substantive researchers how nonresponse canimpact on substantive outcomes.
1. Backgrounds of nonresponse 1.1. Introduction 1.2. Declining response rates 1.3. Total survey quality and nonresponse 1.4. Optimising comparability 2. Survey response in cross-national studies 2.1. Introduction 2.2. Harmonisation models 2.3. Contactability 2.4. Ability to cooperate 2.5. Willingness to cooperate 2.6. Nonresponse bias 2.7. Ethics and humans 3. The European Social Survey 3.1. Introduction 3.2. What is the European Social Survey? 3.3. ESS design and methodology 3.4. Nonresponse targets, strategies and documentation 3.5. Conclusions 4. Implementation of the European Social Survey 4.1. Introduction 4.2. Basic survey features 4.3. Practical fieldwork issues 4.4. Summary and conclusions 5. Response and nonresponse rates in the European SocialSurvey 5.1. Data and definitions 5.2. Response and nonresponse rates in ESS 3 5.3. Response rate differences and fieldwork efforts 6. Response enhancement through extended interviewer efforts 6.1. Introduction 6.2. Previous research on contactability 6.3. Previous research on cooperation 6.4. Sample type and recruitment mode in the European SocialSurvey 6.5. Establishing contact in the European Social Survey 6.6. Obtaining cooperation in the European Social Survey 6.7. Effects of enhanced field efforts in the European SocialSurvey 6.8. Conclusion 7. Refusal conversion 7.1. Introduction 7.2. Previous research 7.3. Refusal conversion in the ESS 7.4. Refusal conversion and data quality 7.5. Discussion and conclusions 8. Designs for detecting nonresponse bias and adjustment 8.1. What is nonresponse bias? 8.2. Methods for assessing nonresponse bias 8.4. Final conclusions 9. Lessons learned 9.1. Introduction 9.2. Standardisation, tailoring and control 9.3. Achieving high response rates 9.4. Refusal conversion 9.5. Nonresponse bias 9.6. Contact forms and fieldwork monitoring 9.7. Into the future