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Establishment Surveys: Designing The Survey Operations Of The Future

George S. Werking, Jr.


Traditionally, establishment surveys have relied on only a single mode of data collection and this has often had an adverse effect on both data quality and timeliness. The decade of the 1980s brought about many dramatic technology changes in the business workplace, most notably, in the widespread use of microcomputers, telecommunications, and electronic information exchange. The availability of these new technologies at establishments has offered statistical agencies a range of computer assisted survey information collection (CASIC) approaches for significantly improving data timeliness and quality at costs often equivalent to the traditional collection methods. Future cost and quality efficient surveys will integrate multiple CASIC approaches into an overall data collection network. Within a CASIC network, different methods will be used to target broad classes of respondents in order to best match survey needs with respondent capabilities, thus producing the highest quality response for a given unit cost. This paper will discuss some of the performance, cost, and workload issues associated with the development and control of an integrated CASIC network which includes Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI), Touchtone Data Entry (TDE), Voice Recognition (VR), FAX with Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) collection methods.