Call and response: modelling longitudinal contact and cooperation using lagged contact records data

Publication type

Conference Paper


Understanding Society Scientific Conference 2015, 21-23 July 2015, University of Essex, Colchester, UK


Publication date

July 23, 2015


In the longitudinal survey literature, there is little discussion of how
call record data (and particularly, specific call sequences) are able
to account for household-level response propensities in subsequent
waves. This paper uses call records as well as observed data from
Understanding Society’s Wave 1 to model Wave 2 and Wave 3 household
contact and cooperation propensities. Single- and multi-level logistic
models are used to account for the nested structure of the data
(households within interviewers) and to explore effects of the
interviewer, household traits, and aggregates of individual and call
record data from the preceding wave. Model specification considers the
conditionally independent processes of contact and cooperation and is
informed by established theories of survey nonresponse. Additional
controls include interviewer identifiers, geographical markers and
stable household flags to account for possible effects of intra-wave
splits and reallocation of interviewers. Understanding Society data
indicates that specific events and contact sequences predict future
contact and cooperation propensities. More specifically, these findings
suggest that households which repeated unproductive contacts, broke
appointments, registered above median proportion of ‘no replies’, or
began the call sequence with an unproductive contact in Wave 1 are at
risk of future nonresponse. The effects are consistent for Waves 2 and
3. This is not trivial if one considers the frequency of occurrence of
these types of call sequences. Obviously, the risk is magnified when one
considers the multiplicative effect of these events. The analysis of
the models is followed by a discussion of possible implications for
field effort optimization and nonresponse prevention in subsequent





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