2940.0.55.001 - Information Paper: Measuring Net Undercount in the 2011 Population Census, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2011   
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Contents >> Methodology of the 2011 PES >> Collection methods


Field procedures

Various strategies have been devised for the enumeration of the PES. Where possible, standard procedures are used when enumerating private dwellings and discrete Indigenous communities. However, these procedures are modified where necessary in discrete Indigenous communities to take account of language and cultural issues. While question wording and collection methodology may be modified in some cases, attempts will be made to ensure underlying concepts remain the same across both components of the sample.

Mainstream sample

Specially trained PES interviewers will collect data through face-to-face interviews starting around three weeks after Census night. All mainstream dwellings will be enumerated using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI). Interviews will be conducted with any responsible adult of the household who will be asked to respond on behalf of all household members.

Discrete Indigenous communities sample

Enumeration in discrete Indigenous communities will take place as soon as practicable after Census enumeration, while also ensuring that the PES enumeration period is as short as possible. This will limit the potential for people to be enumerated in the PES in more than one community. PES enumeration in these areas may start as early as 21 August. It is expected that PES enumeration in discrete Indigenous communities will be completed by early October, although the completion of the PES will be dependent on the completion of the Census in these areas.

In discrete Indigenous communities the PES will be conducted by specially trained ABS staff with the assistance of facilitators recruited from within the community. The facilitator's role is to assist in establishing rapport with respondents, to assist the interviewer in identifying residents of the selected households, and to interpret where necessary.

To preserve the independence of the Census and the PES, efforts will be made to recruit facilitators who were not involved as Census interviewers. Where this is not possible, Census interviewers will only act as PES facilitators at dwellings where they did not interview during the Census. If there is no option but to use a facilitator who conducted a Census interview at the same dwelling, the PES interviewer will ask the facilitator to introduce the interviewer to the household, but otherwise to take no part in the interview. Alternatively, where acceptable to the community, the PES interviewer may enumerate dwellings without the assistance of a facilitator.

For discrete Indigenous communities, the primary collection method will be a customised CAI instrument. However, due to practical considerations, a pen-and-paper interview (PAPI) questionnaire will be available to interviewers, which provides them with an effective degree of flexibility. The data collected from PAPI forms will be transcribed by the interviewer into the CAI instrument.

Census follow-up

In each Census there are always dwellings for which Census forms have not been returned within the required timeframe. For this reason, intensive Census follow-up procedures are employed at the end of Census collection.

In 2011, mainstream Census enumeration will finish on 28 August, with post collection follow-up to occur between 29 August and 4 September. To allow sufficient time for the Census follow-up and to minimise potential overlap with these activities, PES enumeration will begin on 4 September and will continue until 30 September.

For discrete Indigenous communities, Census collection will start on 29 July and end on 28 August. To avoid any overlap, PES enumeration will only begin in these communities once it has been established that all Census field activities have been completed. As a result, PES enumeration of the discrete Indigenous communities sample will be staggered, to align with the completion of Census field operations in each of the communities.

As in previous PESs, special procedures will be implemented for Census forms received after the start of the 2011 PES field work. These procedures are needed to preserve the independence of the Census and the PES as some people may be prompted to return their Census forms following receipt of the PES primary approach letter or the arrival of the PES interviewer. Any Census form received after the start of PES field work will be flagged as a 'late return'. The treatment of late returns is explained in the Estimation section of this paper.

Census and PES staffing

The independence of the Census and the PES will be strengthened by strategies designed to minimise the overlap of Census collectors and PES interviewers. These include:

  • interviewers wanting to apply for District Manager or Area Supervisor positions in the Census must seek an exemption from the interviewer panel for the PES;
  • PES interviewers may also work as Census collectors but they must enumerate a different area;
  • any person who has worked in an area of Census processing related to dwelling or population counts may not also work on PES processing; and
  • any person who has been involved in Census field collection in any capacity may not also work on PES processing.

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