Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Designing a household survey to address seasonality in child care arrangements

TitleDesigning a household survey to address seasonality in child care arrangements
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsSchmidt, SR, Wang, KH, Sonenstein, FL
JournalEvaluation review
Date PublishedApr
ISBN Number0193-841X; 0193-841X
Accession Number18192616
KeywordsBias (Epidemiology), Child, Child Care/methods, Data Collection/methods, Family Characteristics, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Logistic Models, Male, Mental Recall, Research, Residence Characteristics, Retrospective Studies, Schools, Seasons, Students, Time Factors

In household telephone surveys, a long field period may be required to maximize the response rate and achieve adequate sample sizes. However, long field periods can be problematic when measures of seasonally affected behavior are sought. Surveys of child care use are one example because child care arrangements vary by season. Options include varying the questions posed about school-year and summer arrangements or posing retrospective questions about child care use for the school year only. This article evaluates the bias associated with the use of retrospective questions about school-year child care arrangements in the 1999 National Survey of America's Families. The authors find little evidence of bias and hence recommend that future surveys use the retrospective approach.