Interviewing Proxy versus Suspected Duplicate Respondents to Obtain Information Regarding Potential Duplicate Living Situations
King, T. R., Cook, S. L., & Childs, J. (2012, May). Interviewing Proxy versus Suspected Duplicate Respondents to Obtain Information Regarding Potential Duplicate Living Situations. Presented at AAPOR 2012, Orlando, FL.
When conducting survey research about individuals, it is ideal to interview the person in question. However, due to busy schedules, mental and physical abilities, and simple refusals, sometimes a proxy respondent is necessary. Proxy reports have been widely used and are often considered necessary in certain survey research situations, such as: parent proxies for child and adolescents, people with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses, the elderly and other populations. Research continues to seek a greater understanding of the quality of proxy reporting versus self-reporting responses as well as when proxy responses are significantly different from self-reports. This paper examines the use of proxy reports versus self-report responses in a study conducted by the US Census Bureau. The study was designed to increase understanding of living situations in which individuals are likely to be duplicated (persons listed at more than one residence) in the decennial census. Cognitive interviews were conducted with either duplicated adults or an adult household proxy.
The purpose of this research is to examine whether there was a significant difference in quality of living situation information provided by the proxy versus the targeted duplicate respondent. Of the 226 cognitive interviews conducted, 130 respondents were the targeted duplicates and 96 respondents were proxies. An adult household member was allowed to serve as a proxy when the duplicate respondent was unavailable. Our analysis includes findings from RTI Interviewer observations as well as potential data quality indicators including percent providing match to duplicate address, percent providing complete dates and address for moves and other transitions, refusals, and mention of privacy concerns. This research may be of interest to methodologists and studies that use proxy respondents in lieu of sampled individuals.