“Responsive Design for Household Surveys"

March 20, 2007
A Presentation by Steve G. Heeringa

For over seventy years, survey designers have relied heavily on experiences in prior surveys to model the
error and cost structures for a new design. This presentation presented a new model for survey design
and management labeled “responsive design”. The defining feature of the responsive design method is
that it permits a continual re-evaluation of the cost and error properties over the entire course of the
survey period and enables the survey manager to make adjustments in the sample composition, allocation
of interviewer effort and essential conditions (e.g. incentives) to optimize the empirical cost-error
properties of the resulting data. Key concepts for the responsive design method were illustrated with
empirical results obtained in recent applications of this method to several large household surveys
including the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) Cycle 6, the National Survey of Americans’
Lives (NSAL) and the Chicago Mind and Body (CMB) Study.

Steven G. Heeringa is a Research Scientist in the Survey Methodology Program, the Director of the
Statistical and Research Design Group in the Survey Research Center, and the Director of the Summer
Institute in Survey Research Techniques at the Institute for Social Research. He has over 30 years of
statistical sampling experience directing the development of the SRC National Sample design, as well as
sample designs for SRC's major longitudinal and cross-sectional survey programs.


Cecilia Yee giving Steve Heeringa a Certificate of Appreciation from the Detroit Chapter