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Does the length of fielding period matter? Examining response scores of early versus late responders
Naomi Dyer, Westat 
Kimya Lee, U.S. Office of Personnel Management 
Taylor Hudson Lewis, U.S. Office of Personnel Management 
*Richard Sigman, Westat 

Keywords: Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, FEVS, employee surveys, employee satisfaction, employee engagement

This paper discusses the potential effects of a shortened fielding period on a large, Federal employee survey’s item and index scores and sample demographics. Using data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey we investigate whether early responding employees differ from later responding employees. Specifically, we examine differences in scores on items and indices relating to conditions conducive to employee engagement and global satisfaction. We define early responders as those who respond within the first two weeks of the fielding period and we focus on large and independent Federal agencies so as to eliminate agencies with smaller sample sizes. Our findings show that the early responders tend to be somewhat less positive, even after adjusting the weights of this subset for nonresponse. Agencies vary with respect to the prevalence of late responders, and estimate differences become magnified as this proportion increases. We also examine the extent to which early versus late responders differ on certain demographic characteristics such as grade level, supervisory status, gender, tenure with agency, and intent to leave or retire, noting minorities and females are the two demographic characteristics most associated with responding early.