Scottish Household Survey: Response rates, Reissuing and Survey Quality
Reissuing non-responses is a widespread practise in surveys, to maintain high
response rates and reduce the risk of non-response bias. However, reissuing is costly. This paper assesses the impact of reissuing on survey estimates using data from the Scottish Household Survey, 2014 and 2016.
The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is the largest and one of the most important surveys in Scotland and is central to the Scottish Government’s evidence based approach to policy making.
The SHS is an important source of data for a variety of areas including housing, public services, physical activity, volunteering and cultural participation. It provides one-third of the National Performance Framework Indicators, is the source of evidence for Single Outcome Agreements and a number of Benchmarking Frameworks and informs cross-reaching policy development.
Like most major face-to-face random probability surveys, response rates on SHS have been declining, albeit slowly.
The long-term average response rate for 1999-2011 was 67.9%. However, it should be noted that the calculation has changed slightly for 2012 as a portion of the addresses of unknown eligibility are considered to be eligible whereas previously they would all have been classed as ineligible. This calculation change would have led to a lower response rate in years prior to 2012, if it had been calculated on the same basis.
In 2008, the SHS response rate was 67% and this fell to 64% by 2018. It is, however, taking more and more fieldwork effort and cost to achieve these headline figures. Like many major face-to-face surveys, the SHS has increasingly relied on reissuing non-responding samples at first issue to other interviewers to try and maintain the overall response rate.
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