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Empirical Data on Survey Costs

I pointed out an interesting (if older) book by Seymour Sudman a few posts ago -- "Reducing Survey Costs" from 1966. There is another book that talks about survey costs -- Groves "Survey Errors and Survey Costs" from 1989.

Groves talks about cost models for a telephone facility. The models are quite detailed. He notes that computerized telephone facilities can quite accurately estimate many of the parameters in the model. He does give a long, detailed table comparing costs for a telephone and face-to-face survey.

Most of the discussion is in Groves' book is of telephone facilities. But the same modeling approach could be taken to face-to-face surveys. The problem is that in that kind of survey, we can't rely on computers to keep track of time that different tasks take. So estimation of the model parameters is going to be more difficult. But, at least conceptually, this would be a useful approach. That would allow us to bring in costs to more facets of the survey design process for face-to-face surveys.

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