The long-term effectiveness of refusal conversion procedures on longitudinal surveys
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society)
ESRC Research Centre on Micro-social Change. Established in 1989 to identify, explain, model and forecast social change in Britain at the individual and household level, the Centre specialises in research using longitudinal data. • ESRC UK Longitudinal Studies Centre. This national resource centre was established in October 1999 to promote the use of longitudinal data and to develop a strategy for the future of large-scale longitudinal surveys. It is responsible for the British Household Panel
... urvey (BHPS) and for the ESRC's interest in the National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study • European Centre for Analysis in the Social Sciences. ECASS is an interdisciplinary research centre which hosts major research programmes and helps researchers from the EU gain access to longitudinal data and cross-national data sets from all over Europe. The British Household Panel Survey is one of the main instruments for measuring social change in Britain. The BHPS comprises a nationally representative sample of around 5,500 households and over 10,000 individuals who are reinterviewed each year. The questionnaire includes a constant core of items accompanied by a variable component in order to provide for the collection of initial conditions data and to allow for the subsequent inclusion of emerging research and policy concerns. Among the main projects in ISER's research programme are: the labour market and the division of domestic responsibilities; changes in families and households; modelling households' labour force behaviour; wealth, well-being and socio-economic structure; resource distribution in the household; and modelling techniques and survey methodology. BHPS data provide the academic community, policymakers and private sector with a unique national resource and allow for comparative research with similar studies in Europe, the United States and Canada. BHPS data are available from the Data Archive at the University of Essex http://www.data-archive.ac.uk Further information about the BHPS and other longitudinal surveys can be obtained by telephoning +44 (0) 1206 873543. ABSTRACT Survey organisations often attempt to "convert" sample members who refuse to take part in a survey. Persuasive techniques are used in an effort to get the refusers to change their mind and agree to an interview. This is done in order to improve response rate and, possibly, to reduce non-response bias. However, refusal conversion attempts are expensive and must be justified. Previous studies of the effects of refusal conversion attempts are few and have been restricted to cross-sectional surveys. The criteria for "success" of a refusal conversion attempt are different in the case of a longitudinal survey, where for many purposes the researcher requires complete data over multiple waves. This paper uses data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) from 1994 to 2002 to assess the long term effectiveness of refusal conversion procedures in terms of sample sizes, sample composition and data quality.