Online Program

The Price of Perfection: Analyzing the Cost & Benefits of Extensive Data Quality Follow-up
Christopher S. Ellis, RTI International 
Timothy S. Flanigan, RTI International 
*Scott Austin Ginder, RTI International 
Margaret Noonan, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 

Keywords: data quality, item nonresponse, jails, prisons

A high response rate is important to the production of a reliable dataset. However, simply obtaining a response (avoiding unit nonresponse) is only part of the battle. In particular, reducing or altogether avoiding item nonresponse and ensuring the quality (e.g., consistency) of the data are of paramount importance. Given the increasing federal budget constraints and the need to ‘do more with less’, these objectives can be especially challenging. This presentation will discuss how this challenge has been addressed for the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Deaths in Custody Reporting Program. Specific topics will include data quality challenges and solutions, the level of effort associated with making data quality follow-up contacts (e.g., to obtain missing items or to correct inconsistent data), strategies employed to reduce the cost and labor involved in such an effort, efficiencies gained by the enhanced strategies, and the overall impact on data quality.