CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS
OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


             

CHECKLIST 
SURVEY DOCUMENTATION

             
                                     
A. Abstract                                
                                     
  1. The history, purpose and legislative mandates for the survey are clearly explained.    
                                     
  2. The target population is described.                  
                                     
  3. The time and geographic coverages of the survey are described.      
                                     
  4. Contact persons(s) or relevant office are named with current phone numbers.  
                                     
B. Status of Data                              
                                     
  1. The data are clearly identified as preliminary, test, revised or final.
                                     
  2. A schedule of revisions is included, where applicable.            
                                     
  3. Differences between this survey and previous surveys in the same series are explained.
                                     
C. Methodology and Data Preparation                      
                                     
  1. Definitions                            
                                     
    a. Technical definitions are included.                
    b. Concepts critical to understanding data are defined.          
                                     
  2. Sample Design                          
                                     
    a. The target population is described.                
    b. The survey frame is described with regard to the source of the frame, reference date and number of units.  
    c. The units selected for the sample at each stage are identified. d. The numbers of sampling units at each stage are provided.  
    e. The procedures for allocating the sample at each stage are discussed.      
                                     
    f. The sample selection process at each stage is described. g. The response rates and their derivations are provided. h. Measures of size defined for sampling with "probability proportionate to size" are provided.        
    i. Improvements in precision that result from the choice of a particular sample design are discussed.      
                                     
  3. Data Collection Process                        
                                     
    a. There is a general description of how the instrument(s) were administered.    
                                     
    b. Copies of the interview forms/questionnaires are included.      
                                     
    c. Quality control procedures used in the data collection process and the results of the implementation of these procedures are described.
                                         
    d. Results of pretests and independent evaluations are discussed.      
                                         
  4. Data Reduction and Estimation                          
                                         
    a. The derivations of the base weights and any special weights are specified.    
    b. Estimation procedures are described.                      
    c.   Procedures used to adjust for non-response are described.          
                                         
  5. Editing and Imputation                                
                                         
    a. Methods for imputing data are described. b. Procedures for editing data are described. c. Problems or limitations that resulted from edit procedures are described.      
                                         
D. Sampling and Non-Sampling Error                            
                                         
  1. Sampling Errors                                    
                                         
    a. Methods for estimating sampling errors are discussed.              
    b. Generalized or specific sampling error tables are provided. c.   Guidance is provided on how to apply tables of sampling errors to the errors in reported statistics.  
                                         
  2. Non-sampling Errors                                  
                                         
    a. Response levels as well as methods for adjusting for non-response are discussed.  
                                         
    b. Response bias and measurement errors are discussed.                
    c. Conceptual and other limitations of the data are pointed out.        
                                         
E. Guidelines for Using the Data                              
                                         
  1. Caveats are included about how data can and cannot be used.            
                                         
  2.   Instructions are provided on which sample weights to use.              
                                         
  3. Control counts, tables or distributions for critical variables are provided.      
                                         
  4. Confidence levels are appropriate and explained.                  
                                         
  5. Design effects are provided, where appropriate.                    
                                         
  6. Any special considerations for using statistical packages such as SAS or SPSS are included.  
                                         
  7. Related surveys and studies are listed in a bibliography.