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Redesigning A Questionnaire For Computer‐Assisted Data Collection: The Current Population Survey Experience

Cathryn S. Dippo, Anne E. Polivka, Kathleen Creighton, Donna Kostanich, and J.M. Rothgeb


Over the last decade, there have been two new factors that have significantly influenced the design of survey data collection—the computer and the theories and methods of cognitive psychology. When, in 1986, staffs of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the Census initiated a process for redesigning the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the 21st century, incorporating these two new factors was made a top priority. In this paper, we illustrate how, by concentrating on the cognitive processes of respondents and interviewers, we used computer-assisted interviewing as a tool for reducing measurement error.

Key words: cognitive aspects of survey methodology, questionnaire testing, measurement error