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Another data point on social media privacy

Mail survey renaissance?

In today's technology-driven MR industry it feels beyond retro to even mention mail surveys. Yet in the broader research industry and specifically the sector that deals with social policy research mail surveys are experiencing a major resurgence. Mail-survey-13The problems of coverage and nonresponse in telephone surveys that have driven MR online are driving social policy researchers to seriously evaluate mail, either as a prime survey mode or as recruitment to Web or telephone.

The attraction is the Delivery Sequence File, a list of all of the addresses serviced by the US Postal Service. As you might imagine, direct mailers have used this file for years and have augmented it with all sorts of additional data to make targeted mailings possible. Government surveys, especially those using in-person interviewing, have gradually been transitioning to it as a cost effective way to do area probability sampling.

I blogged about this 18 months ago under its common name--addressed-based sampling. I'm bringing it up again because the current issue of POQ has three interesting articles on the topic. I especially recommend Vincent Iannacchione's synthesis of the current research. Obviously, I don't expect a major shift to ABS within MR.  It has serious limitations in terms of cycle time and questionnaire complexity that make it a poor candidate for most of the work we do. But in that part of our work where a representative sample is essential, it increasingly looks like the best option.

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