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In sample surveys, the failure to obtain information from a designated individual for any reason (death, absence or refusal to reply) is often called a non-response and the proportion of such individuals of the sample aimed at is called the non-response rate.

It would be better, however, to call this a "failure" rate or "non-achievement" rate and to confine "non-response" to those cases where the individual concerned is contacted but refuses to reply or is unable to do so for reasons such as deafness or illness.

Non-availability of information in other situations, e.g. arrival of the investigator for crop cutting experiments after harvesting, may also be termed non-response, or better, non-achievement.

When several items of information are to be collected for the same sample unit, it may so happen that information is not available for some of the items but available for others. The term non-response is usually not applied in such a situation; but incomplete response or incomplete achievement may be used.

Source Publication:
The International Statistical Institute, “The Oxford Dictionary of Statistical Terms”, edited by Yadolah Dodge, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Cross References:
Item non-response
Refusal rate

Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Glossary Output Segments:

Created on Thursday, May 23, 2002

Last updated on Monday, December 19, 2005