Check the phone book: Testing information and communication technology (ICT) recall aids for personal network surveys

Yuli Patrick Hsieh, RTI, Digital Technology and Society Program
How can medical practitioners at a local clinic encourage residents to come in for cancer screening? How can politicians identify the opinion leaders and information gatekeepers among their constituency? Have Americans become more socially isolated than they were thirty years ago? Social scientists have employed the name generator procedure to collect self-reported information about individuals’ personal networks to examine the implications of interpersonal environments for people’s attitudinal and behavioral changes. However, self-reports on personal networks of close friends and acquaintances often result in significant underreporting of such information, which impairs the accuracy of findings and inferences drawn from personal network research. In this talk, I will present the findings of my randomized survey experiment that examined the effect of information and communication technology (ICT) recall aids for the name generator procedure from the General Social Survey. I will show how the study participants produced more comprehensive reports on their personal networks and how the quality of such data were evaluated. I will then discuss the design recommendations for network survey instruments as well as the broader implications of the use of ICT recall aids for personal network research in social science fields.
February, 9 2015 | 12:30 - 14:00 | Gross Hall 230E

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