Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.4, No.4, 1988. pp. 385400

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An Evaluation of Telephone Interviewing on the British Labour Force Survey

This study evaluates the effects of extending telephone interviewing to newly sampled addresses on the annual “boost” to the British Labour Force Survey. An experiment was carried out on a sub-sample of the survey with addresses identified as having a telephone number allocated randomly to telephone or face to face interviewing. The telephone response rate was significantly lower than the face to face response rate; but, by reissuing telephone non-response for face to face interviewing, this difference was largely eliminated. There were some significant differences in responses obtained by telephone compared with face to face interviewing, but these differences did not affect any of the key demographic or employment variables. As a result of these findings, it was decided to extend telephone interviewing to newly sampled addresses on the annual boost from the 1987 survey onwards. Difficulties in administering of carrying out a mixed mode project on this scale for the first time led to a response rate for 1987 at the low end of the expected range. Nevertheless, preliminary results for 1988 suggest that these initial difficulties have been overcome.

Telephone coverage; telephone interviewing; matching; mode of interview response comparisons; mode effects; labour force survey.

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