Measuring Employee Hours in Government Surveys

Sylvia K. Fisher, Karen L. Goldenberg, Eileen M. O'Brien, Clyde Tucker, and Diane K. Willimack


At the December, 2000 meeting of the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Council, an interagency team of behavioral scientists from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the U.S. Census Bureau discussed the use of cognitive methods to improve establishment survey questionnaires (Cognitive Interagency Working Group, 2000 and O'Brien, Fisher, and Goldenberg, 2001). The paper prepared for the presentation included a review of cognitive theory as it pertains to survey research, descriptions of several cognitive methods, and an application of two of these methods in the evaluation of a questionnaire used in BLS's Current Employment Statistics survey program. Attendees at this session indicated that further investigations of establishment surveys using cognitive methods would be desirable. In particular, one suggestion was to evaluate how the same concept was operationalized in the questions and instructions across several government surveys.