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Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2022-05

Consent to data linkage: question wording and format experiments

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Publication date

29 Jun 2022

Abstract

Survey data are increasingly being linked to administrative records to maximize the value of the data while minimizing respondent burden. But relatively little is known about how best to word and format such consent requests. We conducted a series of independent experiments in a longitudinal survey and an online access panel to understand how various features of the design of the consent request can affect the respondents’ decision, their understanding of the linkage process, and their confidence in the decision made. Easy wording of the consent question increases objective understanding but does not increase the consent rate. Asking for consent early in the survey increases consent. Priming respondents to consider trust increases consent. 

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