John StevensonJennifer Dykema, and Nora Cate Schaeffer will represent the University of Wisconsin Survey Center at the 2019 Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR) Annual Conference in Chicago in November. The theme for this year’s conference is “Where Methods and Substance Meet: Reflecting the Present and Shaping the Future of Public Opinion and Survey Reseach” and UWSC will be participating in several capacities at the conference.

As investigators increasingly use mail survey methods to collect data, research focused on optimizing features of survey design and administration in cost-effective ways is needed. One of the most effective ways of increasing participation is through the use of multiple contacts. Historically, this included a 5-point contact strategy that involved sending sample members a pre-notification letter, initial questionnaire, thank-you postcard, second questionnaire, and finally a third questionnaire. However, as response rates decline and the proportion of sample members who are nonresponders increases, the inclusion of a third questionnaire becomes more costly, and we must evaluate whether this contact strategy is worth the cost. Along with colleagues from the University of Lincoln-Nebraska, John and Jen and collaborators at UWSC will systematically estimate the average increase in response rates associated with mailing of a third questionnaire and explore factors associated with these trends in the presentation “Third Time’s a Charm? Analysis of the Effect of Sending a Third Questionnaire for Mail Surveys.”

Nora Cate and Jen will discuss issues related to “Interviewers and Data Quality” in two panels on the topic. In the panel “Interactions, Operations, and Observations,” Nora Cate will provide an empirical update to General Interviewer Training that uses current research on interviewers and data quality to inform how interviewers should be trained to obtain codable answers. Jen will serve as a discussant for the session. In the panel “Interviewer Pace and Data Quality,” long-time UWSC collaborator Dana Garbarski from Loyola University Chicago will present on work with Jen and Nora that examines how question, interviewer, and respondent characteristics are related to response time on questions related to health, including whether the effects of question characteristics vary by interviewer experience.