Run a Survey


The ALP survey rate covers fielding your survey, which includes survey programming, panel maintenance, provision of laptops and internet access, incentive payments, data dissemination, and management costs.

  • $3.25 per person minute for the first 500 respondents
  • $2.75 per person minute for the next 500 respondents
  • $2.00 per person minute for any respondent beyond 1,000
  • $2,000 per survey handling costs

For example, 1,000 respondents taking a 10-minute survey would cost $32,000.

An ALP survey can usually be programmed within two weeks from the formal signing of the contract. Client testing and refining of the sample frame may take an additional week or two. Typically, 4–5 weeks from contract signing date is a good estimate for when you should expect to be able to field your survey. Data collection, cleaning, and weighting takes approximately four weeks.

Fill out the RAND survey panels intake form to get started.

Our Services

  • Survey expertise

    Our experts are available to help ensure you get the data you need.

  • Incentives

    We take care of all the incentive payments to respondents. Panel members are paid quarterly at a rate of $20 for a 30-minute survey.

  • Methodological experiments

    We offer flexible services. Experiment with randomization, varying layouts, reminders, and more to run your methodological experiments on the ALP.

  • Panel helpdesk

    Our helpdesk fields emails and calls from our panel members.

  • Invitations and reminders

    We handle all of the sample management, from selecting panel members to sending invitation and reminder emails to tracking the fieldwork.

  • Longitudinal

    The ALP is a longitudinal panel, so you can run another survey in the future with the same group of respondents to effectively measure change over time. You can also merge your data with more than 500 previously completed ALP surveys.

Ten Steps to Fielding an ALP Survey

Step 1: Cost Estimate

Contact the RAND American Life Panel (ALP) panel manager, Lisa Wagner, to discuss your study and request a cost estimate. You'll meet with her and ALP's director and chief methodologist, Dave Grant. This is a chance to discuss the scope of work and for the ALP team to provide feedback on your survey methodology or technical survey design to help ensure your survey will produce quality data.

At the meeting, we'll discuss:

  1. Survey methods and technical design including sample characteristics;
  2. Survey length and complexity as well as any special programming needs or services that may be required; and
  3. Your desired number of survey completions.

After this discussion, the ALP panel manager will send you a cost estimate. If you have a draft of the survey questionnaire to share, please send it along for review as part of the discussion.

If you need a quick estimate, you can refer to the standard ALP pricing rates above.

Step 2: Final Project Scope and Price

The RAND ALP panel manager will use the final questionnaire and your specifications to determine the final cost of the project. ALP surveys are priced according to the standard pricing formula above; additional fees may be added if custom programming is required, programming and integration of custom widgets, and/or extensive modifications are made after the survey is programmed. The number of survey minutes is based on an estimate provided by the RAND ALP team after a review of the final paper version of the questionnaire (not based on actual length of time individual panel members take to complete the survey).

Step 3: Contract Development and Approval

The RAND ALP panel manager will develop a draft contract including a scope of work. The scope of work will include information about survey programming, survey length, desired number of responses, the sample frame, and information about custom programming if applicable. Standard RAND contract language will also be included. The contract will be sent for your review and negotiated as needed to develop mutually acceptable contract language.

Step 4: Internal Review Board (IRB) Process

RAND's Internal Review Board (IRB) requires the PI for studies conducted with the ALP to obtain approval from their home IRB before a survey can be fielded.

You will need to provide the ALP with:

  • a copy of your IRB approval
  • a final copy of your survey questionnaire in Word format
  • a one- or two-sentence description of your study that will be used in the recruitment email invitation to ALP members

Please note that the ALP protocol is reviewed annually by the RAND IRB and includes consent of ALP members.

Step 5: Survey Testing

After the contract has been signed, the questionnaire will be programmed based on the final paper version provided. The programmed survey will be internally tested multiple times using a variety of different response options (if applicable) to ensure accuracy.

Following internal testing, the survey is ready for your team to test. You will receive an email with the following:

  1. instructions on how to access the survey;
  2. a Word document version of the programmed questionnaire with instructions to collect all comments from your team and provide them as tracked changes in the provided document.

Step 6: Fielding the Survey

Once the RAND ALP team and you have thoroughly tested the survey, the survey will be fielded to your sample.

The RAND ALP panel manager will require the following information from you before fielding:

  1. Introductory survey text. This is the one- or two-sentence IRB-approved description of the survey that panel members see when they receive their survey invitation email. For example, “The following survey will ask you questions about your household expenses.”
  2. Final sample selection. We can select panel members based on demographic parameters, answers to previous survey questions, recruitment methods, etc.
  3. Field start date.
  4. Email invitation and reminder text. We can use our standard email and reminder schedule or can customize to your specifications.

Step 7: Fieldwork and Helpdesk Support

The RAND ALP panel manager will advise you when your survey is in the field and the RAND ALP helpdesk team will assist panelists experiencing technical difficulties and monitor panel members' feedback relaying any comments or questions to you as needed.

If you would like an interim unweighted dataset to review your initial survey results, you may request one after the first week of fieldwork.

Step 8: Closing the Survey

The RAND ALP panel manager and helpdesk team will monitor the number of survey responses and will notify you and panel members when a survey will be closing. Once the survey has been closed, the RAND ALP manager will send the final data set in both Excel and Stata formats.

  1. Weights. RAND can provide weights as requested once the survey is closed.
  2. Embargo. ALP survey data are generally embargoed for a period of one year after a survey has closed unless a special embargo extension has been granted. This allows researchers to have exclusive use of their sponsored ALP data to complete their research before the data becomes publicly available on the ALP data pages.
  3. Billing. RAND will send you an invoice or invoices according to the specifications of the contract. RAND-based PIs will see their projects billed fully after the survey has closed with costs showing as “ROPS Services.”

Step 9: Data Analysis

Analyze your ALP data and complete the study. Researchers should provide information regarding publications based on data obtained from the ALP by sending a copy of any papers or publications to

Step 10: Survey Data Posted

After an initial embargo period of one year your survey data will be posted to the ALP data pages website and be made available to download as part of the longitudinal ALP dataset.