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Question 28 of my final exam for Design and Analysis of Sample Surveys

This is it, the last question on the exam!

28. A telephone survey was conducted several years ago, asking people how often they were polled in the past year. I can’t recall the responses, but suppose that 40% of the respondents said they participated in zero surveys in the previous year, 30% said they participated in one survey, 15% said two surveys, 10% said three, and 5% said four. From this it is easy to estimate an average, but there is a worry that this survey will itself overrepresent survey participants and thus overestimate the rate at which the average person is surveyed. Come up with a procedure to use these data to get an improved estimate of the average number of surveys that a randomly-sampled American is polled in a year.

Solution to question 27

From yesterday:

27. Which of the following problems were identified with the Burnham et al. survey of Iraq mortality? (Indicate all that apply.)

(a) The survey used cluster sampling, which is inappropriate for estimating individual out- comes such as death.

(b) In their report, Burnham et al. did not identify their primary sampling units.

(c) The second-stage sampling was not a probability sample.

(d) Survey materials supplied by the authors are incomplete and inconsistent with published descriptions of the survey.

Solution: c and d. Cluster sampling is fine, and the researchers did identify their psu’s. They just didn’t clearly describe what they did beyond that.

Solution to question 28

You can use weighting or poststratification. With weighting, you need an estimate that a person will participate in the survey. It’s reasonable to suppose that people who responded to more surveys in the past are more likely to respond to this one. With poststrat, you adjust for demographics such as age, ethnicity, sex, and education, that are correlated with survey response rates.


  1. konrad says:

    A survey to ask people whether they respond to surveys? You can _not_ be serious.

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