Ten Steps to Fielding an ALP Survey

Step 1: Cost Estimate

Contact the RAND ALP panel manager, Karen Edwards to discuss your study and request a cost estimate. You'll meet with Karen 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 (below).

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 formula below; 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. Standard pricing for the American Life Panel (ALP) is:

  • First 500 survey completions x # of survey minutes x $3.00
  • Next 500 survey completions x # of survey minutes x $2.50
  • Remaining survey completions x # of survey minutes x $2.00
  • Fixed fee $2000 to cover server costs and administration

So, for example, 1,500 respondents taking a 10-minute interview would cost $39,500.

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. In addition to providing evidence of IRB review, the ALP panel manager will need to submit an amendment to the ALP IRB protocol to ensure the survey content is appropriate for the ALP. This review typically takes 1-2 weeks and can be done in parallel with the contract review process.

Note: ALP surveys cannot be fielded without final IRB approval.

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 instructions on:

  1. how to access the survey;
  2. a link to the survey administration page where you and/or others on your team can download and test the data;
  3. 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 description of the survey panel members see when they login to their ALP home page, and should be one or two brief sentences. 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 provide your team with access to a survey administration page where you can login and download the data at any time. The RAND ALP helpdesk team will monitor panel members' feedback and will relay any comments or questions to you as needed.

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 you a spreadsheet with panel member comments as well as the final data set.

  1. Weights. RAND can provide weights as requested once the survey is closed.
  2. Embargo. RAND can embargo your survey data for up to one year.
  3. Billing. RAND will send you an invoice or invoices according to the specifications of the contract.

Step 9: Data Analysis

Analyze your ALP data and complete the study.

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.