Maintaining Response Rates in Longitudinal Studies

A recognized problem in mounting longitudinal surveys concerns the costs and difficulties in maintaining response rates over time. This article details the techniques used to minimize response loss in a longitudinal study which maintained an 89% response rate over five interviews covering a fifteen-year period. These techniques centered on two problems common to all longitudinal studies: the difficulties involved in relocating respondents for subsequent interviews, and the necessity of maintaining respondent cooperation over repeated interviews.