Call for Papers for a special issue on “Respondent Burden” in the Journal of Official Statistics

Tuesday, 1 September, 2020

Special Issue Guest Editors
• Robin Kaplan, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
• Jessica Holzberg, U.S. Census Bureau
• Stephanie Eckman, RTI International
• Deirdre Giesen, Statistics Netherlands

In an era of declining response rates, increasing use of multiple survey modes (including web and mobile), and difficulties retaining respondents across multiple survey waves, the question of how to better understand, measure, and reduce respondent burden is crucial. In official statistics, respondent burden is often conceptualized in terms of objective measures, such as the length of time it takes to complete a survey and the number of questions asked. Bradburn (1978) posited that in addition to these objective measures, burden can be thought of as a multidimensional concept that can include respondents’ subjective perceptions of how effortful the survey is, how sensitive or invasive the questions are, and how long the survey is. The level of burden can also vary by the mode of data collection, survey topic, demographic characteristics of respondents, and frequency with which individuals or businesses are sampled.

Ultimately, respondent burden is concerning because of its potential to increase measurement error, attrition in panel surveys, survey nonresponse, and nonresponse bias, as well as impact data quality. Both objective and subjective burden may have effects on survey outcomes, but many survey organizations have focused primarily on objective measures of burden; little research assesses both objective and subjective sources of respondent burden to better understand the unique contributions each may have. This special issue aims to publish research on new and innovative methods of measuring both objective and subjective perceptions of respondent burden, while also assessing and mitigating the impact of respondent burden on survey response and nonresponse bias.

We invite submissions related to objective and subjective measures of respondent burden, burden as it relates to response rates and data quality, the burden associated with different survey modes, and techniques for reducing burden.

Deadline for paper submission: September 1, 2020 Decisions on full papers: March, 2021 Deadline for submission of revised manuscripts: May, 2021 Final decision: October 2021 Special issue published online: September 1, 2022