Volltext: Wehner, Sigrid: Exploring trends and patterns of nonresponse

2. EXPLORATION OF THE NONRESPONDENTS IN THE EGLHS 
23 
refusal rate is 69,5%. This seems to be a poor result" if we restrict ourselves to looking only 
at these percentages. We have to keep in mind, however, that this is a study of a special 
group. We have got information about some "dark chapter persons" who usually do not 
appear in surveys at all. 
FIGURE 4 below provides a visual image of the sample development. Colour attributes 
are used especially to enable a graphical contrast of the proportion of completed interviews 
versus nonrespondents. 
FIGURE 4: 
Sample Development in the East German Life History Study 
- Nonrespondents versus Completed Interviews - 
N 
4500 
 
candidates for 
 
4000 
 
a neutral loss 
nonresponse study 
3500 
7. panel mortality 
3000 
u no contact 
illness, other reasons 
2500 
nonrespondent 
a refused any information 
interviews 
2000 
 
nrefusal 
1500 
sutilisable interviews 
wave 1 
1000 
wave 2 interviews 
 
500 
o 
1991/92 (wave 1) 1996/97 (wave 2) 1997 (nonresponse 
study) 
The left bar is a stack of the initial drawn sample: its total length represents N-4750 persons. 
The neutral loss is given in black, non-contacts in grey, refusals of any kind of information 
(only wave 1) in light red, illness together with other reasons (in wave 1) and non utilisable 
interviews are given in grey stripes. The green bar indicates the final amount of utilisable 
interviews. In wave 2 we also see the number of persons lost by panel mortality (green 
stripes). In all three studies, the most obvious blocks are the refusals (in red) and the 
completed interviews (in green). In wave 1 about one third of the initial sample are refusals. 
This proportion is clearly much lower in wave 2, because only the participants were contacted 
5 years later. We see that the wave 2 stack contains only a small red band. 
* Groves/Couper (1998:50) mention that special nonresponse studies are often confronted with low response 
rates.
	        
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