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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Inventory of published research: Response burden measurement and reduction in official business statistics. A literature review of national statistical institutes’ practices and experiences.
Year 2011
Access date 08.12.2015
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This report provides a review of the most recent literature (2005-2010) on how national statistical institutes (NSIs) measure and try to reduce the response burden caused by their business surveys. The objective of this report is to document and discuss NSI experiences and knowledge in this area. This literature review is the first step of Work package 2; the next step will be to conduct a survey amongst NSIs to collect additional information on response burden measurement and reduction that cannot be found in published documents. The relevance of reducing response burden in business surveys lies both in concerns about the costs for businesses and in the quality and costs of the NSI data collection. The importance of response burden measurement and reduction is underlined by the European Statistics Code of Practice, that states “The reporting burden should be proportionate to the needs of the users and should not be excessive for respondents. The statistical authority monitors the response burden and sets targets for its reduction over time.”
From the reviewed literature the following can be concluded: 

  • Methods for measuring and calculating response burden are not standardized over European NSIs. 
  • Many NSIs put effort in the reduction of response burden and undertake very similar actions. 
  • The effects of these efforts on response burden reduction and data quality are hardly ever documented. 
  • The effects of actions to reduce response burden are hardly ever researched in experiments or in other types of studies that analyse effects with multivariate quantitative methods. 
  • Literature on measurement and reduction of response burden is hardly ever published in peer-reviewed journals, but is mainly restricted to conference proceedings.

The importance of response burden reduction seems not to have resulted in many methodological research projects on this topic. Within the next steps of the BLUE-ETS project we aim to make some progress in this direction by a) discussing NSIs best practices of response burden measurement and reduction b) defining a research agenda for these issues and c) make a start in implementing this agenda by conducting empirical research into the effectiveness of promising but not well researched actions to reduce response burden and increase the motivation of business survey respondents. 

Year of publication2011
Bibliographic typeReports, seminars