Open Access
Translator Disclaimer
March 2008 Skip sequencing: A decision problem in questionnaire design
Charles F. Manski, Francesca Molinari
Ann. Appl. Stat. 2(1): 264-285 (March 2008). DOI: 10.1214/07-AOAS134


This paper studies questionnaire design as a formal decision problem, focusing on one element of the design process: skip sequencing. We propose that a survey planner use an explicit loss function to quantify the trade-off between cost and informativeness of the survey and aim to make a design choice that minimizes loss. We pose a choice between three options: ask all respondents about an item of interest, use skip sequencing, thereby asking the item only of respondents who give a certain answer to an opening question, or do not ask the item at all. The first option is most informative but also most costly. The use of skip sequencing reduces respondent burden and the cost of interviewing, but may spread data quality problems across survey items, thereby reducing informativeness. The last option has no cost but is completely uninformative about the item of interest. We show how the planner may choose among these three options in the presence of two inferential problems, item nonresponse and response error.


Download Citation

Charles F. Manski. Francesca Molinari. "Skip sequencing: A decision problem in questionnaire design." Ann. Appl. Stat. 2 (1) 264 - 285, March 2008.


Published: March 2008
First available in Project Euclid: 24 March 2008

zbMATH: 1137.62304
MathSciNet: MR2415603
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/07-AOAS134

Keywords: item nonresponse , partial identification , questionnaire design , response error , Skip sequencing

Rights: Copyright © 2008 Institute of Mathematical Statistics


Vol.2 • No. 1 • March 2008
Back to Top