Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.15, No.2, 1999. pp. 269282

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Strategies for Reducing Nonresponse in a Longitudinal Panel Survey

This article provides an evaluation of some of the fieldwork procedures and survey systems used on the British Household Panel Study (BHPS). The BHPS procedures for dealing with nonresponse through panel maintenance systems, tracking procedures, and refusal conversion during fieldwork are described. The analysis uses data from the first four waves of BHPS from 1991 to 1994, to examine longitudinal patterns of response and reasons for refusal. The reasons for refusal or for becoming a non-contact over the life of the panel are discussed. The process of refusal conversion is described together with conversion outcomes. Finally the effect of interviewer continuity on maintaining the co-operation of sample members is examined. The article argues that in the context of a longitudinal panel survey, having a relatively complex set of procedures in place is critically important to minimise nonresponse and maintain high response rates over time.

Response rates; survey methodology; fieldwork procedures

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