Math 243A
Spring, 2004

Nonsampling error

  1. Response errors
    1. the tendency of respondents to give socially desirable answers
    2. failures of memory
    3. differences in interviewer behavior across respondents or differing respondent reactions to interviewers by such variables as race, gender, and social class
    4. mismatch between the meaning of the question as intended by the researcher and the meaning understood by the respondent
    5. differences in answers associated with the mode of administering the interview (by mail, by phone, or in person)
    6. characteristics of the question itself (long or short, open-ended or with explicit response alternatives, presented in a positive or negative manner, and so on)
    7. the context of other questions in which a particular question is embedded and the ordering of questions in an interview or questionnaire
    8. whether the answer is given by the person directly concerned or by a proxy respondent.
  2. Nonresponse errors
    1. unit nonresponse: entire sets of data are missing for potential respondents because the respondents were missed in the field (for example, they were never at home), were missed in the frame (for example, they did not have telephones), or refused to participate.
    2. item nonresponse: individual's answers to some parts of a survey instrument are missing or are inconsistent

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Source: The Statistical Approach to Design of Experiments by Ronald D. Snee and Lynne B. Hare, Chapter 5 (pp. 71-91) in Perspectives on Contemporary Statistics, David C. Hoaglin and David S. Moore, editors, MAA Notes and Reports Series, 1992.

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Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Calvin College

Last Modified: Monday, 26-Jul-2004 13:11:07 EDT