Separating Refusal Bias and Non-Contact Bias: evidence from UK national surveys

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

August 22, 2002


Refusal by sample units and failure to contact sample units can both contribute to survey non-response bias. However, the nature of the contribution can be rather different in the two cases. Extended field efforts may reduce either or both components of non-response bias. In this article we examine data from a number of UK surveys on extended field efforts and the impact that they appear to have upon non-response bias and its components. Some consistent patterns are found. We also explore the sensitivity of such analyses to the operational definition of extended efforts. The findings provide some evidence of the relative roles of refusal conversion and repeated contact attempts in reducing non-response bias. The study also has implications for the development of appropriate field strategies to combat non-response bias.

Published in

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series D (The Statistician)

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 51 , p.319 -333






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