Skip to content

Journal Article

Sequence analysis of call record data: exploring the role of different cost settings


Publication date

Jun 2016


Sequence analysis is widely used in life course research and more recently has been applied by survey methodologists to summarize complex call record data. However, summary variables derived in this way have proved ineffective for post-survey adjustments, owing to weak correlations with key survey variables. We reflect on the underlying optimal matching algorithm and test the sensitivity of the output to input parameters or ‘costs’, which must be specified by the analyst. The results illustrate the complex relationship between these costs and the output variables which summarize the call record data. Regardless of the choice of costs, there was a low correlation between the summary variables and the key survey variables, limiting the scope for bias reduction. The analysis is applied to call records from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, which is a nationally representative, face-to-face household survey.

Published in

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A (Statistics in Society)

Volume and page numbers

179 , 793 -808





Statistical Analysis and Surveys



Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*


Research home

Research home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest