Methodology of Longitudinal Surveys II

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Addressing differential attrition through the use of targeted financial incentives on the Growing Up in Scotland study

Type:Contributed Paper
Jul 25, 09:55
  • Line Knudsen - ScotCen Social Research
  • Paul Bradshaw - ScotCen Social Research
  • Eilidh Currie - ScotCen Social Research

Since its inception in 2005 the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS) has tracked the lives of more than 10,000 children and families living in Scotland. On GUS, like on most other cohort studies, differential attrition is a key concern. Families living in disadvantaged circumstances are less likely to take part and, over time, this has meant that the size of important sub-groups have disproportionately diminished.

In 2015 a trial of targeted financial incentives was included as part of the third sweep of data collection with the youngest GUS birth cohort. Ahead of fieldwork, analysis was undertaken to identify groups of cohort families who were at particular risk of being underrepresented in the study and at high risk of attrition; who were of particular interest to analysts using the data; and who could feasibly be targeted based on the sample details held. The main groups identified were: single parents, teenage mothers and families living in the most deprived areas. Among these, a randomly selected group were offered a financial incentive for taking part and their response was compared with that of a control group.

Following this trial, a revised targeted financial incentives strategy was implemented for the oldest GUS birth cohort as part of the 9th sweep of face-to-face fieldwork which began in early 2016. Inspired by results from the trial, at sweep 9 the selection of cases eligible for an incentive has been based on previous participation as well as on sample characteristics.

The presentation will outline and discuss preliminary results of response analysis which considers the effectiveness of the revised targeted financial incentives strategy implemented in 2016.


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