BAYESIAN METHODS FOR PREDICTION OF SURVEY DATA COLLECTION PARAMETERS IN ADAPTIVE AND RESPONSIVE DESIGNS
Coffey, Stephanie Michelle
Elliott, Michael R
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Adaptive and responsive survey designs rely on estimates of survey data collection parameters (SDCPs), such as response propensity, to make intervention decisions during data collection. These interventions are made with some data collection goal in mind, such as maximizing data quality for a fixed cost or minimizing costs for a fixed measure of data quality. Data quality may be defined by response rate, sample representativeness, or error in survey estimates. Therefore, the predictions of SDCPs are extremely important. Predictions within a data collection period are most commonly generated using fixed information about sample cases, and accumulating paradata and survey response data. Interventions occur during the data collection period, however, meaning they are applied based on predictions from incomplete accumulating data. There is evidence that the incomplete accumulating data can lead to biased and unstable predictions, particularly early in data collection. This dissertation explores the use of Bayesian methods to improve predictions of SDCPs during data collection, by providing a mathematical framework for combining priors, based on external data about covariates in the prediction models, with the current accumulating data to generate posterior predictions of SDCPs for use in intervention decisions.This dissertation includes three self-contained papers, each focused on the use of Bayesian methods to improve predictions of SDCPs for use in adaptive and responsive survey designs. The first paper predicts time to first contact, where priors are generated from historical survey data. The second paper implements expert elicitation, a method for prior construction when historical data is not available. The last paper describes a data collection experiment conducted using a Bayesian framework, which attempts to minimize data collection costs without reducing the quality of a key survey estimate. In all three papers, the use of Bayesian methods introduces modest improvements in the predictions of SDCPs, especially early in data collection, when interventions would have the largest effect on survey outcomes. Additionally, the experiment in the last paper resulted in significant data collection cost savings without having a significant effect on a key survey estimate. This work suggests that Bayesian methods can improve predictions of SDCPs that are critical for adaptive and responsive data collection interventions.