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Analyzing the Association of Objective Burden Measures to Perceived Burden with Regression Trees

Daniel K Yang


Higher levels of perceived burden by respondents can lead to ambiguous responses to a questionnaire, item nonresponse, or refusals to continue participation in the survey which can introduce bias and downgrade the quality of the data. Therefore, it is important to understand what might influence the perception of burden in respondents. In this article, we demonstrate, using U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey data, how regression tree models can be used to analyze the associations between perceived burden and objective burden measures conditioning on household demographics and other explanatory variables. The structure of the tree models allows these associations to easily be explored.
Our analysis shows a relationship between perceived burden and some of the objective measures after conditioning on different demographic and household variables and that these relationships are quite affected by different respondent characteristics and the mode of the survey. Since the tree models were constructed using an algorithm that accounts for the sample design, inferences from the analysis can be made about the population. Therefore, any insights could be used to help guide future decisions about survey design and data collection to help reduce respondent burden.