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Modernizing Face-to-Face Surveys: New Sampling Methods

March 19, 2024

Can traditional face-to-face household survey designs be adapted to leverage modern data collection methods and tools? How can researchers improve the cost-effectiveness and statistical efficiency of these surveys in the U.S.? A recent study published by the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology, “Reconsidering Sampling and Costs for Face-to-Face Surveys in the 21st Century,” explores how modern data collection methods, address-based household lists, multimode designs, and updated training and management approaches can impact sample designs and survey costs.

The study, led by experts from Westat, proposed using Census tracts as the first-stage sampling units instead of the traditionally used counties. This approach directly samples households without the need for additional subsampling stages. The researchers found that, for a given overall sample size, tract designs with twice as many first-stage units have similar costs to county designs while achieving significantly higher effective sample sizes.

The authors of this study include Westat’s J. Michael Brick, PhD, Tammy Cook, Jill M. DeMatteis, PhD, Brad Edwards, Ryan Hubbard, and Marcelo Simas, PhD.


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