Differences in response rates using most recent versus final dispositions in telephone surveys

Publication Date: 
Monday, September 1, 2003

Although response rates have always been important in survey research, they have become central in discussions about survey quality during recent years. It is not unusual for clients, particularly those from state and federal agencies, to have expectations about the response rate that they will get on a survey. At the same time, the number and types of surveys have ballooned, yielding a combination of modes, populations, and topics that have increased the complexity of both data collection and analysis. This has caused some confusion as clients, who have little concrete data for comparison and sometimes little experience in survey research, develop expectations for response rates that are out of line with current trends for the type of survey they commission.

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