Responsive Survey Design

Surveys are frequently designed with a great deal of uncertainty about key parameters, such as response rates. Responsive survey design (RSD) is a strategy for dealing with this uncertainty. RSD was first proposed in 2006 in a paper by Groves and Heeringa. RSD makes use of data collected during early phases of production to inform decisions made about the design for later phases. In this way, the uncertainty about key design parameters is reduced. RSD may be used to control costs and errors, such as nonresponse error and measurement error. The general strategy of responsive design is to identify potential risks related to costs or errors, develop indicators for tracking these risks, and then plan design changes for controlling these costs or errors. These responsive design options are triggered if the indicators cross pre-specified thresholds. The short courses combine an explanation of the basic principles of RSD with practical advice for implementation. The courses provide concrete examples of responsive designs. These examples are drawn from a variety of settings, including face-to-face, telephone, web, and mixed-mode surveys.