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a problem in the social sciences caused by people not completing QUESTIONNAIRES, refusing to be interviewed, etc. Nonresponse is a common problem in sociological research, especially in those instances where a postal questionnaire is being used, where a RESPONSE RATE of above 50% is generally considered to be good.

In order to discuss ways of increasing the response rate it is necessary to consider briefly why people do not return questionnaires. Some people have died or moved before the questionnaires are sent out, whilst others simply refuse to complete questionnaires. Apart from people who have moved house, died, etc., probably the main reason why questionnaires are not returned is due to forgetfulness and inertia. This problem can be minimized in a number of ways. In constructing the questionnaire care should be taken in writing and ordering the questions to make it as simple and easy to complete as possible. The covering letter should be written so that the purposes of the study are explained and assurances should be given concerning the confidentiality of the data. A few days after sending the questionnaires a reminder card should be distributed, and second and even third copies of the questionnaire may be sent to nonrespondents, depending on finances. A shortened version of the questionnaire, asking key questions only, may be sent, or this may be administered by telephone.

A number of techniques exist which attempt to calculate the extent to which nonrespondents might differ from respondents. Depending on the data source, that data which is known about nonrespondents can be coded (see CODING) for analysis and comparison with respondents. For example, a study of young people using addresses obtained from careers offices may be able to build up a picture of nonrespondents which includes data on gender, age, examination results, employment status, etc. Also, replies can be weighted on the basis that respondents who reply to the final reminder have more in common with those from whom no response has been obtained than with those who replied earlier. It may also be possible to estimate some characteristics of the total population by using alternative data sources (e.g. other questionnaire studies, CENSUS material, etc.) and then the data can be weighted accordingly.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Use of survey weights designed to mitigate nonresponse bias reduced the size of the demographic shifts in some cases by up to half of the original discontinuity (eg, for white race and percentage with a college degree), but had minimal effects on changes in the uninsured rate.
Ross made that call despite warnings from six previous directors of the Census Bureau that doing so would place the "accuracy" of the study at "grave risk," due to the likely increase in nonresponses among households and communities with heavy concentrations of illegal immigrants.
Patients who had an improvement on follow-up CT were categorized as a 'good response', while patients who had no change and aggravation were categorized as 'nonresponse'.
The specific number of respondents varies from question to question, owing to item nonresponse and to the fact that, in the cases of several items, we randomly divided the sample into multiple groups in order to examine the effect of variations in the way questions were posed.
Among patients who received antibiotic treatment escalation within 2 days of starting treatment, most (90%) had nonresponse on treatment day 1, but only 5% had inappropriate initial therapy.
Student and parent samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability and nonresponse. Parent data are weighted to match national demographics of age, gender, education, race, ethnicity and region.
First, the small number of veterinarians who responded compared with the number of those potentially eligible increases the likelihood of nonresponse bias.
Without routine urine screening, nonadherent patients might receive or undergo unnecessary tests, procedures, or treatments for perceived nonresponse to treatment, added Dr.
While response rate simply refers to the number of people who responded to the survey in comparison to the total number who received it, response quality is typically measured through item nonresponse, or conversely, item completion rates (Barrios et al., 2011; Deutskens, de Ruyter, & Wetzels, 2006; Galesic & Bosnjak; 2009; Kwak & Radler, 2002; Munoz-Leiva et al., 2010).
A volume for each delivered and transported consumer category is imputed for companies that fail to respond in time for inclusion in the published estimates (unit nonresponse) or for which reported volumes have failed the edit and not been confirmed or corrected (item nonresponse).
If the auditor has determined that a written response to a positive confirmation request is necessary but it has not been received, or if the auditor has only received an oral response (akin to a nonresponse), the next step would be to verify the accuracy of the original addresses and send second requests.