Address-Based Versus Random-Digit Dial Sampling:
Comparison of Data Quality from BRFSS Mail and Telephone Surveys
Michael W. Link1, Michael P. Battaglia2, Martin R. Frankel3, Larry Osborn2, Ali H. Mokdad1
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Buford Highway NE,MS K-66, Atlanta, GA, 30341, MLink@cdc.gov, AMokdad@cdc.gov
2 Abt Associates Inc.
55 Wheeler St., Cambridge, MA 02138, Mike_Battaglia@abtassoc.com, Larry_Osborn@abtassoc.com
3 Abt Associates Inc. and Baruch College, CUNY
14 Patricia Lane, Cos Cob, CT 06807, Martin_Frankel@abtassoc.com
The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention or Abt Associates Inc.
As part of an on-going effort to expand coverage for and participation in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
(BRFSS), a pilot study was conducted to determine if a mail survey conducted with a random sample of adults selected from
an address-only sampling frame (the USPS Delivery Sequence File) could rival the quality of the data collected using more
traditional random-digit dial (RDD) methods. As one of the largest, RDD-based health surveys, the BRFSS is an ongoing
surveillance system designed to collect uniform, state-specific data on preventive health practices and risk behaviors that are
linked to chronic diseases, injuries, and preventable infectious diseases in the adult population. Moving from a telephone-
only approach to one which utilizes alternative survey modes and sampling frames has the potential to improve response rates
and increase the validity and reliability of the estimates obtained. This paper reports the results of a pilot study conducted in
six states. Item non response rates and estimates derived from mail and telephone versions of the BRFSS are compared across
8 key health conditions and risk behaviors, including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, alcohol use, and HIV testing.
While a considerable