Non-response analysis compares the characteristics of respondents and non-respondents; usually this is limited to information from the sampling frame, such as sex and geographical area. Where additional information is available in the sampling frame it may be possible to assess more precisely the extent of response bias. In industrial societies, there are periodic declines in survey response rates, as reflected in all the regular major national surveys which monitor response-rates very closely. Declining response rates are met with renewed efforts to encourage participation, and reassure people on doubts about confidentiality and uses of the data. But they indicate that the survey method could become over-utilized, and that people are becoming increasingly well informed about social research and its uses. See also SAMPLING; SAMPLING ERROR.
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