• Presentation

Comparison of Cell Phone and Landline Surveys: A Design Perspective


Carley-Baxter, L. R., Peytchev, A. A., & Black, M. C. (2008, May). Comparison of Cell Phone and Landline Surveys: A Design Perspective. Presented at AAPOR 2008, New Orleans, LA.


Rapidly decreasing coverage of landline surveys is increasing the need to implement dual-frame surveys for inference to the adult U.S. population. Vast differences between the way cell phones and landlines are used, and the populations using them, require separate data collection designs. Yet research comparing cell phone surveys to landline telephone surveys is scarce with respect to operational outcomes. Researchers are still unclear about what existing procedures from landline surveys can be used without modification in cell phone surveys, and what procedures need to be adapted or changed. Further, reasons for participation or nonresponse may differ by sample type. We evaluate design characteristics and feasibility of implementing a cell phone sample in a national landline RDD survey through measures of effort, sample performance over the course of the field period, and sample dispositions. We also test hypothesized differences between cell phone and landline interviewing through experiments on survey topic and length. To help optimize calling cell phone numbers in future studies, we present self-reported cell phone use patterns and other factors affecting the probability of contact and sampling design. To inform the inclusion of adults with both a cell and landline phone, we compare cell phone use among cell-phone-only and cell-plus-landline cases. The cell phone sample was less efficient and cell phone interviews required more effort. We find that topic and length may not have the same impact in cell phone surveys. We also found notable differences between the cell-only and cell-plus-landline respondents in terms of cell phone use. Implications and directions for future work are discussed.