Changes in Response Rate Standards and Reports of Response Rate over the Past Decade
Carley-Baxter, L., Hill, C. A., Roe, D., Twiddy, S. E., & Baxter, R. (2006, January). Changes in Response Rate Standards and Reports of Response Rate over the Past Decade. Presented at Second International Conference on Telephone Survey Methodology, Miami, FL.
Data quality has long been a cornerstone of social science research: researchers are constantly and continually investigating methods to maximize data quality and minimize survey error. Survey error, of course, has many components and many causes. Error stemming from nonresponse has been receiving increased attention of late, in part because of the welldocumented falling response rates occurring across the industry. Response rates are widely reported to have decreased for many types of surveys over the past decade, especially for random-digit-dial (RDD) surveys. While we can assess nonresponse error and its impact in multiple ways, certainly, response rate is the most well-known indicator of nonresponse error. As such, it is an important piece of information and has become—unfortunately or not—an overall indicator of data quality – interpreted by many as a shorthand way for labeling whether a particular survey is "good", "scientific", "valid" - or not.