Box 6-2

Residence Question and Instructions in the 2000 Census and the 2000 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment

Compared with the residence question on the 2000 short form, the 2000 AQE represented a package of numerous design changes, each (or any) of which could affect the outcomes (responses):

  • Order of answer space: whether the question (and response box) appear before or after the instructions

  • Order of other components, including structure of include/exclude lists

  • Space allocated to questions: whether the question block is formatted to appear larger, vertically

  • Dominant graphic element: replacement of an illustration of a pen as a major visual element with the flow-promoting orange “Start Here” triangle

  • Summary categories in instructions: whether the instructions include a general summary category (“people who live here most of the time, even if they have somewhere else to live”), and in what order in the include/exclude lists it falls

  • Stronger instruction language: whether an imperative statement (to count people “using our guidelines”) is included

  • Typographical emphasis: whether having the entire phrases INCLUDE and DO NOT INCLUDE capitalized (and hence accorded equal weight) differs from only capitalizing NOT (as in the AQE)

  • Formatting of lists: whether the list of include/exclude instructions are in a single column or double-banked

  • Label placement: whether the “number of people” label is placed before or after the response box

  • Size of answer box

  • Location of “1”, a numerical language indicator

In addition, the two questions differ slightly in the exact wording of the bulleted instructions.

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