Exploring the Use of Peer Locating Procedures on a Longitudinal Study
Evans, B., Mattox, T. L., Tart, C. L., Currivan, D., Burns, L. J., & Joshua, S. P. (2007, May). Exploring the Use of Peer Locating Procedures on a Longitudinal Study. Presented at American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference, Anaheim, CA.
As survey response rates continue to decline, there is a greater need to develop innovative approaches to tracing procedures to facilitate contacting sample members. RTI International recently completed a second follow-up survey for the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, conducted for the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. The study follows high school students over time to determine how their high school experiences influence their life as they progress on to college and into the work force.Sample members were about 20 years old as of the second follow-up, a time when they were very mobile and difficult to contact. A few months into the data collection period we implemented a peer locating strategy for sample members that had not yet completed the survey. We sent emails to participants who had completed the survey asking them to provide contact information for their former high school classmates who participated in the high school rounds of the study. They were encouraged to log into a secure study website and go to a restricted area to provide contact information about them. A few weeks later we conducted phone calls to the sample participants who did not provide information in response to the email asking for the same information.In this paper we explore peer locating as a viable tool for contacting respondents. We analyze the data obtained through the website in response to the email and through telephone contacts. We categorize the usefulness of the information obtained and compare it to the final outcome of the case. Additionally, we study the characteristics of participants that were difficult to contact as well as those who provided information. Lastly, we draw conclusions on the value of the data obtained and the effectiveness of this procedure.