How to Approach the Unreachable? -Pilot analysis of unit non-response and ineligible populations in empirical surveys by re-contacting-

The goal of the research is to investigate the relative size and internal distribution of unit nonresponse and non-contact segments of the Hungarian population in the case of empirical social surveys. In our research, we determine the internal probabilities of being contacted and to be ready to participate if contacted. Also, our research goal is to determine “other factors” (auxiliary information) that might affect probabilities in the last stage of sampling (to be ready to participate if contacted).

Background and research questions

The scope of empirical studies is getting limited by the general increase in non-response and no-contact. The problem affects survey researchers in Hungary and also, data collectors and users worldwide. Within the methodological survey the sample of the European Social Survey (Round 8) was recontacted to investigate:

• To what extent can non-response and no-contact be considered constant or stable in the case of surveys?

• How refusers could be characterized?

• Where and among whom it is more difficult to contact during fieldwork?

• How do respondents feel about the different types of data collections?

The research also included a special data collection that looked at:

• What special sampling techniques can help to contact the lower and upper edges of society in terms of income?

• To what extent can estimates from general surveys be improved?

Available results

Detailed documentation of the research is available here in Hungarian.

Szeitl, B., Tóth, I. Gy. (2020) Megközelíthetetlen csoportok elérése: hogyan lehet javítani a személyes megkeresésen alapuló empirikus adatfelvételek minőségén? A „Hogyan kezeljük a „nemválaszolók”-at? – Az empirikus kutatások során jellemzően válaszmegtagadó, vagy elérhetetlen csoportok pilot kutatása speciális felméréssel és módszerekkel” című K 125162 számú OTKA Kutatás záró beszámolója Budapest: Tárki, 2020. (in Hungarian)

Conference Presentations:

ESS Budapest Conference: “European societies through the lense of the European Social Survey”, The Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Working papers:

Szeitl, B., Tóth, I. Gy.: Revisiting the ESS R8 sample a year after – Lessons from a re-contact survey to test patterns of unit non-response in Hungary – under review 

Publication: Szeitl, B. & Tóth, I. Gy. (2021). Revisiting the ESS R8 sample a year after – Lessons from a re-contact survey to test patterns of unit non-response in Hungary. Survey Methods: Insights from the Field.

Supported by: NKFIH (OTKA) Research period: 1 September 2017 – 29 February 2020.