• Poster

Information Systems for Longitudinal Surveys


Thissen, M. R., & Suresh, R. (2004, May). Information Systems for Longitudinal Surveys. Presented at International Field Directors and Technologies Conference, Phoenix, AZ.


Longitudinal studies face the problem of keeping in touch with respondents across years, and the mobility of some populations can make the task difficult. A centralized database and processes for maintaining and updating contact information improves the likelihood of locating the subjects, even after an extended time period. However, there are many issues to consider when designing the system. For example:

  • Contact information is both varied and fluid; it comes in many forms and cha nges without warning.
  • Tracking respondent groups, such as parent and child, adds complexity.
  • Confidentiality and security issues constrain the storage, access and distribution of information.
  • Survey specialists need an interface which is convenient, responsive and available on demand.
  • Systems and processes need to be comprehensive, expandable and adaptable to unforseen circumstances.
  • Desirable features include exchange of data with tracing services, support of panel maintenance efforts, searching capabilities, and keeping a subject-specific history of information and contacts.

We will show how these needs were translated into a practical working system for a national multi- year survey.