• Presentation

Toward a Standard Typology of Disposition Codes for Establishment Surveys


Zuckerbraun, S. M., Flicker, L., & Friedman, J. A. (2010, May). Toward a Standard Typology of Disposition Codes for Establishment Surveys. Presented at AAPOR 2010, .


Disposition codes are used to track the status of cases during data collection. The AAPOR Standard Definitions (1) provide guidance on establishing final disposition codes, converting from pending to final codes, and computing final response rates for household, mail and internet surveys. However, there is less information publicly available about establishing disposition codes and calculating response rates for establishment surveys. The authors are survey researchers engaged in large-scale federal government surveys of establishments in the health care and education industries. We suggest that there are categories of pending and final dispositions that are likely needed by many if not most establishment surveys. Some of these categories are comparable to the standard household survey codes, but many reflect the different nature of establishment surveys and do not have a household counterpart. We suggest eight categories of disposition codes: 1) sample integrity, 2) identification of the target respondent 3) sending materials to the establishment, 4) gaining the approval of the target respondent, 5) gaining the approval of other entities apart from the target respondent and/or outside the establishment, 6) setting appointments, reminding, and prompting 7) post-interview tasks including validation, verification, and retrieval, and 8) post-data collection “thank you’s” to the establishment. Because establishment surveys tend to have complex designs and multiple phases of data collection, and often collect data from multiple respondents and different instruments, we suggest a structure of disposition codes that that captures the latest event separately from the phase(s) and status. We also give advice about how to “roll up” phases to the general case level in order to calculate response rates and other performance rates of interest.

The typologies presented will be useful to survey researchers and practitioners in designing the case management system and in understanding and calculating response rates of establishment surveys.