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The refusal rate is the proportion of all potentially eligible sample cases that declined the request to be interviewed. Before calculating the refusal rate, researchers must make some decisions about how to handle the types of nonresponse in the calculation.

There are two types of refusals that are generally included in the refusal rate calculation:

  • Household-level refusals: These refusals occur before the appropriate respondent within the household can be determined (either by random selection or other eligibility requirements). That is, the person refusing may or may not be the selected respondent within that household.
  • Respondent-level refusals: These are refusals that occur after the appropriate respondent has been determined. That is, the selected respondent has been identified and that individual is the one actually refusing.

Partial interviews (“partials“), or breakoffs, ...

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