A respondent is the person who is sampled to provide the data that are being gathered in a survey. (In some social science disciplines, such as psychology, the person from whom data are gathered is called the “subject.”) A respondent can report data about himself or herself or can serve as a proxy in reporting data about others (e.g. other members of the household). Even when the respondent is serving as a proxy, he or she is directly generating the data and contributing to their accuracy, or lack thereof.

Some surveys sample respondents directly, whereas other surveys begin by sampling larger units, such as households, and then choose a respondent within the unit from whom to gather data. In interviewer-administered surveying, such as what is done ...

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