Term Definition
Random route (Random walk)

For each randomly-chosen sampling points (e.g., urban units, small cities, or voting districts), interviewers are assigned with a starting location and provided with instructions on the random walking rules – e.g., which direction to start, on which side of the streets to walk and which crossroads to take. Households are selected by interviewers following the instructions. The routes end when the predefined number of respondents (or households) is achieved (Bauer, 2016). Since the probability of the selected household is unknown, this method is categorized as non-probability sampling methods (Bauer, 2016)..

Synonyms - random walk, Random route
Random-digit-dialing (RDD)
A method of selecting telephone numbers in which the target population consists of all possible telephone numbers, and all telephone numbers have an equal probability of selection.
Ranking format

A response format where respondents express their preferences by ordering persons, brands, etc. from top to bottom, i.e., generating a rank order of a list of items or entities.

Example: Listed below are possible disadvantages related to smoking cigarettes. Please enter the number 1, 2, 3, or 4 alongside each possible disadvantage to indicate your rank ordering of these.1 stands for the greatest disadvantage, 4 for the least disadvantage.

_____ Harmful effects on other people’s health

_____ Stale smoke smell in clothes and furnishings

_____ Expense of buying cigarettes

_____ Harmful effects on smoker’s health

Synonyms - Ranking
Rating format

A response format requiring the respondent to select one position on an ordered scale of response scales. Example: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

It is a good idea to ban smoking in public places.

Strongly agree
Somewhat agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Somewhat disagree
Strongly disagree
Synonyms - Rating

Context effects in which the placement of the item at the end of a list of response options increases the likelihood that it will be selected by the respondent.


To have someone other than the interviewer (often a supervisor) attempt to speak with the sample member after a screener or interview is conducted, in order to verify that it was completed according to the specified protocol.

Synonyms - recontacting
Refusal rate

The proportion of all units of all potentially eligible sampling units in which a respondent sampling unit refuses to do an interview or breaks off interviews of all potentially eligible sampling units.

Synonyms - Refusal, refusal, Refusal rate
The process or action of interviewing the same respondent twice to assess reliability (simple response variance).

The consistency of a measurement, or the degree to which an instrument measures the same way each time it is used under the same condition with the same subjects.

Reluctance aversion techniques

Techniques that can reduce reluctance to participate in potential respondents, thereby increasing the overall response rate.

Synonyms - reluctance aversion
Repeated panel

A series of fixed panel surveys that may or may not overlap in time. Generally, each panel is designed to represent the same target population definition applied at a different point in time.

Replicated question

A question which is repeated (replicated) at a later stage in a study or in a different study. Replication assumes identical question wording. Questions which were used in one study, then translated and used in another are also frequently spoken of as having been “replicated.”

Synonyms - replicated

Systematic probability subsamples of the full sample.

Synonyms - replicate
Residency rule
A rule to help interviewers determine which persons to include in the household listing, based on what the informant reports.
Response distribution
A description of the values and frequencies associated with a particular question.
Response distributions
A description of the values and frequencies associated with a particular question.
Response latency

A method of examining potential problems in responding to particular items, measured by the time between the interviewer asking a question and the response.

Response options
The category, wording, and order of options given with the survey question.
Response rate

The number of complete interviews with reporting units divided by the number of eligible reporting units in the sample.

Synonyms - Response rate, response rates
Response scales
The category, wording, and order of options given with the survey question. See Questionnaire Design for more information.
Response styles

Consistent and stable tendencies in response behavior which are not explainable by question content or presentation. These are considered to be a source of biased reporting. For example, extreme response style is the tendency to select the two extreme endpoints of a scale; midpoint response style refers the consistent selection of middle or neutral category of the scale; acquiescent response style is the tendency to agree with or to select the positive responses.

Synonyms - Acquiescence bias
Responsive designs

Responsive design was developed by Groves and Heeringa (2006). Usually the following steps are included: first, researchers pre-identify a set of design features that are of interest (e.g., tradeoff between cost and error); second, researchers identify and monitor these indicators; third, researchers provide intervention or alter the design features based on the pre-identified design decisions rules. Most recently, with the development of technology, real-time responsive design can be achieved in a single survey, such as prompting respondents who show signs of satisficing in web surveys.

Synonyms - responsive design
Restricted tendering
A bidding process in which only bidders prequalified through a screening process may participate in bidding, in which they are evaluated and then chosen on the basis of cost and technical merit.
Restricted-use data file

A file that includes information that can be related to specific individuals and is confidential and/or protected by law. Restricted-use data files are not required to include variables that have undergone coarsening disclosure risk edits. These files are available to researchers under controlled conditions.

Synonyms - Restricted-use file,restricted use files
Person who participates in the review of translations in order to produce a final version (see Appendix A of Translation).
Rotating panel design

A study where elements are repeatedly measured a set number of times, then replaced by new randomly chosen elements. Typically, the newly-chosen elements are also measured repeatedly for the appropriate number of times.