Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.4, No.4, 1988. pp. 307318

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A Comparison of the Kish and Last Birthday Methods of Respondent Selection in Telephone Surveys

Concern over an increasing number of refusals has led survey researchers to seek methods of respondent selection that are less intrusive and which produce higher cooperation rates. Among these methods is the last birthday procedure, in which an interview is attempted with the adult in the household who had the most recent birthday. In this investigation, three experiments were conducted in which samples selected using the last birthday method were compared with those selected with the Kish method in terms of their demographic characteristics and responses to substantive items, as well as their completion rates. The results indicate that while refusal rates with the birthday procedures are lower, the differences are not statistically significant. In addition, there are only minor differences in the demographic characteristics of the samples and in the substantive responses produced by the two methods.

Respondent selection; refusal rates; last birthday method; Kish method; telephone methodology.

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