Field Topics

2019 Suggested Field Topics

Share the challenges you’ve encountered and solutions you’ve developed from your organization’s work in the following areas:

Responsive and Adaptive Designs
  • Identifying and monitoring project risks
  • Novel interventions
  • Outcomes of responsive design interventions
Methods to Improve Data Collection Efficiency
  • Field locating strategies
  • Contact strategies, e.g., effective quantity and types of contacts
  • Optimal routing for field interviewers using GIS and other methods
  • Mining interviewer observation data
  • Monitoring data collection performance
Response Rates
  • Response rates versus other measures of data quality
  • Methods to improve response rates
  • Approaches to refusal aversion and conversion
Mixed-Mode and Multi-Mode Study Design
  • Maximizing participation rates and representativeness of respondents
  • Managing sample and contact attempts
  • Blending of “tried and true” methods, mobile phone samples, and address based samples
  • Sequential mixed-mode surveys
Ancillary Data Collection
  • Biosamples and biomarkers
  • Anthropometrics and physical measurements
  • Wearables and Sensors
  • Cognitive tests
  • Collection of records waivers and linkage to administrative data

Questionnaire Design
  • Design challenges for mixed-mode surveys
  • Writing and formatting questions to improve data quality
  • Pilot testing and decision-making

Sample Design and Weighting
  • Address-based sampling
  • Adaptive design
  • Targeted mail or telephone lists, e.g., small geographic or demographic groups
  • Mixing random-digit dialing, cell phone lists, and email lists
  • Statistical support for complex sampling and weighting needs
  • Tools and tips for managing web-based samples/panels

Respondent Incentives
  • Differential incentives (why and how you use them, implications for communication to respondents, navigating institutional review boards)
  • Alternatives to cash incentives;Electronic incentives, e.g., gift card codes delivered electronically
  • Federal limitations on incentives
  • When incentives are not an option
  • Non-monetary incentives

IRB Considerations and Challenges
  • Sensitive survey items and ancillary measures
  • Mandatory reporting and event reporting
  • Clinical or social worker contact people for respondents and interviewers

Longitudinal Data Collection Issues
  • Tracking and locating challenges and innovations
  • Managing complex incentive treatments
  • Complex sample management including other contact persons
  • Maintaining response rates over time
  • Considerations when including new sample members

Qualitative Data Collection:
  • Supplementing quantitative data collection with qualitative insights
  • Designing and administering open-ended probes
  • Using text analysis and other methods
  • Focus groups
  • Cognitive interviews

Tailored Recruitment for Specialized Samples
  • Hard-to-reach populations

Innovations in Administering Mail Surveys
  • Testing the use of mailed materials and how it affects response

Community-based Participatory Research
  • Collaborating with community-based organizations
  • Building and sustaining community partnerships
  • Engaging the community to participate in research

Multi-cultural and/or Multi-language Research
  • Survey translation
  • Cultural adaptation of survey measures
  • Working with multi-cultural data collection teams
  • Gaining community cooperation
  • Identifying appropriate sampling frames

Evaluation Research
  • Best practices in evaluating programs
  • Study design for research on interventions
  • Organizational initiatives

Optimization of Mobile Devices and Visual Design
  • Practical solutions for optimizing surveys based on high quality visual design across platforms and mobile devices
  • Technology to manage standardization across platforms and devices
  • Instrument interface design
  • Responsive design

Using Paradata
  • Building paradata collection into your projects
  • Technical and ethical considerations
  • Tracking respondent behaviors within web surveys, e.g., answer changes, backing up, straight-lining response
  • Including quality indicators in project production monitoring
  • Dashboards to monitor production data collection process

Technology Issues
  • Communication and interaction with study participants and/or project staff
  • Technology platforms and devices, e.g., social media, email, SMS, web, smartphones, handheld devices
  • Accessibility across modes
  • TCPA/FISMA (including specific phone and software set-ups that are compliant)
  • Advantages and disadvantages of different web and CATI software packages
  • Data security and The Cloud
  • Sample Management Systems
  • Data Architecture
  • Instrument testing procedures

Embracing New Technologies
  • Nonprobability methods to collect data, e.g., web panels, crowd sourcing
  • New approaches to tracking and locating respondents
  • Web-based focus groups
  • Using social media and other technology to communicate with longitudinal or panel study participants or invite study participation

Project Management Software
  • Available options and pros and cons of different approaches

Diversity and Inclusivity Initiatives at Your Shop

Interacting with the IRB
  • Current trends across IRBs
  • Educating accounting and IRB staff about incentives
  • Educating IRB’s about other best practices in survey research

  • Budgeting for qualitative and ancillary work
  • Using budget templates and spreadsheets
  • Recharge centers
  • Call center rates

Managing Clients and Client Satisfaction
  • Scope creep and managing client expectations
  • Evaluating client satisfaction and acting on satisfaction feedback
  • Re-shaping current client-center relationships
  • Approaches to successfully convince clients of your expertise

Managing and Sustaining Your Survey Organization
  • Effective approaches to developing management skills in your staff
  • Tools and strategies for marketing your center
  • Changing your center’s image
  • Building and sustaining new client relationships
  • Standardizing procedures across programs
  • Outsourcing and vetting vendors

Working Within your Organization or University
  • Tips for working within your university or larger organization to educate and adapt policies to meet the needs of survey research
  • Working with Human Resources on unusual or unique staffing needs
  • Dealing with Purchasing to procure project materials

  • Traits and capabilities of successful interviewers
  • Detecting and avoiding data falsification
  • Interviewer effects

Managing Remote Interviewers
  • Solutions to guide case assignments
  • Remote training and re-training
  • Remote supervision
  • Build a sense of comradery, team, and connection
  • Pros and cons of periodically bringing remote staff to headquarters
  • Safety in the field

Interviewer Quality Control
  • Types of quality control and optimal frequency and scope
  • Barriers, concerns, and application of recording interviews
  • Performing quality control and providing feedback to interviewers
  • Dealing with low performers

Interviewer Training
  • Sharing recent approaches and experiences of training modalities
  • Pre-training and at-home study modules

Interviewer Hiring and Retention
  • Background check requirements
  • Projecting and reducing interviewer attrition
  • Improving interviewer job satisfaction

Project Management Approach
  • Philosophy and consequences of moving to a more formalized Project Management approach (PMI)
  • Project management team models
  • Dealing with the day-to-day issues
  • Remote project management issues

Federally-funded Studies
  • Role of the OMB
  • Study timeline
  • Research design issues