Thursday, February 04, 2010

Response Rates

My hard working research assistant Daniel Suo spent a bunch of time looking for surveys with a response rate as high as Lancet II. We never found a single one. He also gathered some quotes from survey experts. Here they are:

"-Any U.S. survey with contact rates higher than the figures you quoted from the Census Bureau would be suspicious. It is not easy to find people at home AND who will answer the door.
-Figures like 90% would indicate that we are NOT dealing with a random selection of households. Some market research surveys that use quota samples instruct interviewers to go to a certain block and then knock on every nth door until they find someone at home. That's how you get contact rates of 100%. "
- Professor Tom Piazza, University of California at Berkeley

"in today's survey environment, there is no such thing as an extremely high response
rate on a door-to-door survey with just one contact attempt. The demographics work against
it, along with increasing resistance to surveys."
- Professor John Goyder, University of Waterloo

" I think the best estimate is from Groves and Couper, page 82 - - 49% contacted on first attempt.
Mind you, only some of those consented to the interview, so this is simply contactability. JG"
- Professor John Goyder, University of Waterloo

"If I had to pick a number, I'd say that response rates
above 90% on the first contact for door to door surveys of people are
unusual these days."
- Professor Jerry Reiter, Duke University

"I think it is impossible to get even close to 100% on first attempt, people out, or not answering doors.
I would ask them to define what they mean buy response rates, they may be playing with the definition to suit their needs."
- Randa Bell , CMRP, PRC Vice President- Marketing and Client Services ASDE Survey Sampler, Inc

"if you can
get 25% or above I think you can be confident presenting your results to an
academic crowd."
- Professor Phillip Howard, University of Washington

"I don't know of any study that gets even close to 100 percent nor a
systematic list of studies focusing on their response rate. "
- Professor Sidney Verba, Harvard University

"In Mexico, single-contact-attempt door-to-door survey have an average response rate of 70%. There is not such a thing as a 90% or higher response rate (at least not that I know). "
- Pablo Paras