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What is Current Standard Practice for Surveys?

In clinical trials, they have the concept that there is an "existing standard of care." New treatments are compared experimentally to this treatment. I suppose that clinical trials have some issues where informed persons can disagree about the existing standard of care, but there is at least some consensus.

I'm wondering what we have for existing standard practice in the administration of surveys? As I think about running experiments, the contrast is usually to the other thing we would normally do. But, that can be ill-defined. For instance, when running experiments in our telephone facility, it was difficult to describe current practice precisely as it involved expert knowledge of the managers adjusting parameters of the calling algorithm.

As further evidence that it's difficult to precisely define the essential survey conditions, there are several articles on "house effects," where the same survey with the same (rough?) specification ends up getting different results depending upon the vendor. 

This can be an issue for experiments and generalizability with new survey methods. One difficult solution is to give detailed specification of the survey conditions. One possibly easier solution is to replicate results in many settings.

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