Using information from telephone panel surveys to predict reasons for refusal Prognose von Verweigerungsgründen in telefonischen Panelbefragungen

Oliver Lipps


One of the key problems in conducting surveys is convincing people to participate. However, it is often difficult or impossible to determine why people refuse. Panel surveys provide information from previous waves that can offer valuable clues as to why people refuse to participate. If we are able to anticipate the reasons for refusal, then we may be able to take appropriate measures to encourage potential respondents to participate in the survey. For example, special training could be provided for interviewers on how to convince potential participants to participate.

This study examines different influences, as determined from the previous wave, on refusal reasons that were given by the respondents in the subsequent wave of the telephone Swiss Household Panel. These influences include socio-demography, social inclusion, answer quality, and interviewer assessment of question understanding and of future participation. Generally, coefficients are similar across reasons, and between-respondents effects rather than within-respondents effects are significant. While ‘No interest’ reasons are easier to predict, the other reasons are more situational. Survey-specific issues are able to distinguish different reasons to some extent.

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