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Non-Response in Recontact Surveys of Hard to Reach Populations
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Gregory Smith, Pew Research Center 
Scott Keeter, Pew Research Center 
Leah Christian, Pew Research Center 
*Besheer Mohamed, Pew Research Center 

Keywords: non-response, non-response bias, demographics, Muslim Americans, Asian Americans, Jews, Mormons, Atheists, Agnostics

One common way to identify individuals in hard-to-reach populations for surveys is to recontact respondents who indicated in previous studies that they are members of the population in question. For example, recontacting respondents who had identified themselves as Muslims, Asians or Mormons in surveys of the general public was one key component of the sample design for the Pew Research Center’s surveys of these low incidence populations. But to what extent is nonresponse bias a problem in recontact samples of hard to reach populations? This paper explores two aspects of potential nonresponse bias. First, it examines how effective the use of recontact samples are in identifying qualified respondents. Second, it explores whether the respondents who complete a second interview are different from those that cannot successfully be recontacted and recruited for a second survey and if so, in what ways. In order to do this we assess the degree to which the demographic characteristics of the successfully recontacted respondents resemble the full sample of cases eligible for recontact and whether they differ on a few attitudinal indicators.

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