• Presentation

Technological Advances to Reduce Survey Error


Ellis, C. S., Sikes, N., Sage, A., Eyerman, J. D., & Burke, B. J. (2011, May). Technological Advances to Reduce Survey Error. Presented at AAPOR 2011, Phoenix, AZ.


Reduction of survey error is an enduring and common concern among researchers.  Recent procedural and technological advances in the industry have improved our ability to reduce survey error. Examples include providing GPS coordinates in address-based samples to reduce coverage error and computerized capture and transfer of household rosters and sample member demographics to reduce sampling error.  However, some uses of new technology (e.g., the introduction of a separate handheld computer for household screening) may reduce error in one area while increasing it in another. e.g., the linking of multiple computer devices is sometimes problematic. Additionally, it is often challenging to determine which emerging technology will (or will not) assimilate effectively into a research organization’s suite of services.

This poster will present initial test results and a framework for discussion across three primary subtopics:

First, we will discuss how hardware innovation(s) can be harnessed to support the multi-faceted work of the field interviewer, allowing for the doorstep screening, household interview, retention and transmission of data, while ensuring affordable data collection to clients.

Second, noting the increasing availability of global positioning system (GPS) technology, we will discuss how GPS can be used to increase the efficiency and monitor the efficiency and legitimacy of field interviewer work.

Third, we will discuss what programming solutions can be brought to bear on interviewer coding as a source of survey error.  In particular, can computerized analyses run against submitted data quickly and efficiency detect error in interviewer coding, transcription of open-ended responses, and/or overuse of open-ended response options?

Based on actual system testing and development, we will summarize our initial findings, the immediately available benefits of such technological advancements, and the next steps for development and/or implementation.