ESOMAR has endorsed AAPOR’s Standard Definitions; Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys as best international practice in calculating response rates.

AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, developed the definitions, which are aligned with WAPOR and ISO policies to help researchers all over the world, including those in developing regions, apply standardised terminology.

Survey researchers need comprehensive and reliable diagnostic tools to understand the components of total survey error. Some of those components, such as margin of sampling error, are relatively easily calculated whilst other components, such as the influence of question wording on responses, are more difficult to ascertain. By knowing the disposition of every element drawn in a survey sample, researchers can assess whether their sample might contain nonresponse error and the potential reasons for that error.

The Standard Definitions provide a comprehensive way of describing the final disposition of cases and calculating outcome rates for surveys conducted by telephone, for personal interviews in a sample of households, and for mail surveys in which named persons are the sampled elements. The definitions promote best practice to researchers around the world and associations may wish to recommend them to their members to ensure that they do not need to re-invent the wheel in considering these issues.

Go to here to download the definitions.

AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research, includes providers and gathers users of survey data from a variety of disciplines including election polling, market research, statistics, research methodology, health related data collection and education.

More information about AAPOR is available at

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