• Presentation

Monitoring on the Cheap Without Losing Sleep


Mierzwa, F., & Marks, E. L. (2007, May). Monitoring on the Cheap Without Losing Sleep. Presented at American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference, Anaheim, CA.


The collection of accurate and complete data is vital to the integrity of survey research and critical for analyses that help shape public policy. With advances in computer technology and the development of easy-to-use assessment tools and biomarker collection methods, surveys have become vastly more complex as areas of inquiry are added to field-based data collection. Simultaneously, federal budget cuts and increased competition for research dollars mean that research organizations must conduct increasingly more complex data collection while ensuring high quality, but at lower cost. We describe challenges faced and solutions developed to effectively monitor data quality in a large study that entails in-person computer-assisted person interviews and collection of biomarkers under tight resource constraints.Information comes from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A. FANS), a longitudinal study. The first wave of data collection was conducted in 1999-2001, with respondents selected from 65 Census tracts in Los Angeles County. The second wave of data collection began in 2006 and is expected to last about 20 months. In-person interviews are conducted with adults and children -- both panel members and new entrants. Interviews average 146 minutes per adult and 51 minutes per child. Respondents are invited to provide biomarkers (anthropometry, saliva, drops of blood, and a measure of lung function). Adult panel members who have moved out of Los Angeles County will be interviewed by telephone. Study plans anticipate in-person interviews with about 4,100 adults and 2,100 children.