Turn to Address-Based Sampling

The Turn to Address-Based Sampling

New Whitepaper by SSRS EVP, David Dutwin

ABS did not immediately catch on in many research circles.


In the late 2000s, telephone data collection was still fairly cost efficient, researchers were becoming comfortable with dual-frame (landline and cell phone) designs, and research was consistently finding that declining response rates were not significantly affecting data quality (Groves 2006; Groves and Peytcheva, 2008; Keeter et al, 2000; Keeter et al, 2006; more recently Dutwin and Buskirk, 2018).

Secondly, research also found larger systematic nonresponse among ABS respondents than telephone sample respondents (Immerwahr et al, 2018; Jones and Tsabutahsvilli, 2018; Link et al, 2008; Rapoport, Dutwin and Sherr, 2012 and 2014). Specifically, respondents on ABS studies can be more likely to be college graduates and less likely to be non-White compared with the target population as well as compared to RDD samples.

In the past decade, however, telephone response rates have continued to decline significantly, and while there is evidence that data quality from telephone samples has not deteriorated (Dutwin and Buskirk, 2018), the threat of significant systematic bias in surveys that commonly attain response rates of under 10 percent has nevertheless become a serious concern.  More strikingly, for a number of structural factors, telephone surveys are now commonly more expensive than ABS surveys, and, depending upon how ABS is operationalized, often substantially, and prohibitively, so.