Responsive Survey Design

What is 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.

Courses in Responsive Survey Design

Offered in partnership with the Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques, the RSD webinars combine an explanation of the basic principles of RSD with practical advice for implementation. The webinars 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.

The RSD Program now offers more flexibility than ever to take any of its webinars. Starting in 2020, all offerings will be offered in a live webinar format. Students will still have the ability to ask questions, work with the instructors and participate in small group exercises, but all from the privacy of their home or a location of their choosing, including Ann Arbor! The program will have a dedicated classroom in Ann Arbor allowing participants to join in person.

In 2020, the RSD Program offered the following webinars:

  • Total Data Quality (two four-hour webinars)
  • Introduction to Survey Methodology (one four-hour webinar)
  • Basic Concepts of RSD (one four-hour webinar)
  • Case Studies in RSD: Face-to-face and Telephone Surveys (one four-hour webinar)
  • Case Studies in RSD: Web Surveys (one four-hour webinar)
  • Data Visualization for Production Monitoring (two four-hour webinars)
  • Data Quality Indicators (two four-hour webinars, one lecture, one lab)
  • Interventions in an RSD Framework (two four-hour webinars)

The RSD 2021 webinar selection will be available soon.