Cover: Response Errors in Sensitive Topic Surveys

Response Errors in Sensitive Topic Surveys

Estimates, Effects, and Correction Options

Published 1981

by Kent H. Marquis, Naihua Duan, M. Susan Marquis, J Michael Polich, J. E. Meshkoff, Donna S. Schwarzbach, Cathy Stasz


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 5.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback185 pages $40.00

This report examines three questions about response errors in sensitive topic surveys: extent of the problem; impact of the problem; and overcoming the problem. The basic findings are that response errors do exist, that they can have important effects on statistical estimates, and that strategies are available to overcome the estimation biases caused by response errors. The authors conclude that surveys can be useful in policy research on sensitive topics when designs and analyses make appropriate provisions for response errors. Design thinking, however, needs to shift away from a preoccupation with average response bias toward a recognition of the effects of variable response errors and the appropriate mix of design and analysis procedures to minimize their effects on policy conclusions.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.