Recruiting Survey Respondents With Limited or No English Competency: Lessons Learned From American Community Survey (ACS) Cognitive Interviews
Saleska, E. L., Schoua-Glusberg, A., Alvarado, H., Hinsdale-Shouse, M. A., Pan, Y., Park, H., ... Yuan, M. (2009, May). Recruiting Survey Respondents With Limited or No English Competency: Lessons Learned From American Community Survey (ACS) Cognitive Interviews. Presented at IFD&TC 2009, .
Recruiting study participants who meet specific required demographic criteria can be a challenge on many surveys; further complexity is added when the respondents must speak a target language with limited or no English competency. This challenge was faced by the research team that tested the translation of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) field materials from English into multiple target languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese, French, Arabic, Haitian- Creole, Polish, and Portuguese.
According to recent statistics from the ACS, there are increasing numbers of linguistically isolated subpopulations in the U.S. There were 16.4 million U.S. residents who spoke Spanish but limited or no English, and 8.6 million residents who spoke another language but limited or no English. These linguistically isolated subpopulations made up nearly 9 percent of the U.S. population; recent data indicate that they have grown at faster rates than the U.S. population as a whole (ACS, 2007). Given this growth rate, the translation of survey materials into multiple languages is important to increase survey response rates within these subgroups. Thus, research organizations should consider reviewing translated materials with monolingual speakers to assess the quality of the translations.
Through the ACS cognitive interviews, we hoped to learn if the target language translations of the ACS documents were accurate and appropriate culturally and linguistically. Given these research aims, the study team needed to recruit monolingual speakers who also resided in the United States. This presentation will review specific recruiting techniques and identify key lessons learned when recruiting study participants for each of the linguistically isolated study populations. We will evaluate the success of different recruitment mediums, strategies and locations; we will also discuss special considerations that recruiters should plan for in regards to each language group, including outreach contacts that help to overcome the hesitancy to participate from certain subgroups.