Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.11, No.3, 1995. pp. 309323

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Pretesting Procedures at Statistics Sweden's Measurement, Evaluation and Development Laboratory

In 1989 the Measurement, Evaluation and Development Laboratory (MED) was established at Statistics Sweden after a period of testing and evaluating different pretesting procedures. The pilot work and MED's current procedures are described against the background of different approaches on the international scene. Much of the time, mail questionnaires are tested by personally interviewing respondents in their homes using retrospective probing on problems they had with the questionnaire. Encouraging results are reported from a survey of the laboratory's procedures and results directed to MED's clients. In the paper, the MED procedures are compared to those used for pretesting at certain laboratories in the U.S.A., and alternative directions for MED's future work are also briefly discussed. We think that this paper on the organisation we have created, as well as on the mistakes we have made, can provide some useful insights for other pretesting laboratories as well as for organisations planning such activities.

Pretesting; cognitive laboratory; questionnaire development; mail questionnaires.

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