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Assessing Measurement Errors in a Touchtone Recognition Survey

Polly A. Phipps and Alan R. Tupek


Electronic data collection utilizing touchtone recognition in is place for a monthly establishment survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Touchtone Data Entry (TDE) system features digitized phrases requesting respondents to answer questions using the numeric keypad of a touchtone telephone. TDE has substantial implications for lowering survey costs; many labor intensive activities are eliminated. However, little is known about measurement errors associated with this mode of data collection. This study assesses TDE mode error using three sources of data, which allow for analyses of errors associated with selected aspects of the human-machine interface. In addition, instrument design issues associated with mode error are addressed. We conclude by extending the implications of our findings to other surveys.