Imagine that you work for the Neighborhood Outreach and Empowerment department of Autopia, a mid-sized city that was hard-hit by the Great Recession and struggled for several years with budget deficits and economic development challenges.
It also has relatively high crime rates in some areas of the city, as well as aging infrastructure in streets and roads and parks.
The City is also characterized by an “hourglass economy,” as it has a relatively large number of higher income residents involved in high tech and media post-production, but also several communities with working poor and very low income individuals who live in crowded housing and are poorly served with parks and recreation.
More recently, development of a high tech incubator and improvement in the housing market has led to some modest budget surpluses.
Your department has been tasked with design of a City survey to identify resident satisfaction with current services, and to inform decision makers as they consider development of the upcoming budget in light of the improving economy.
You are working with a colleague to develop a sampling approach and survey instrument.

Your research team is working to design a sampling approach and strategy for survey administration.
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of the following from a standpoint of (1) feasibility and (2) validity:
Specifically, to what extent is each likely to draw a representative sample of city residents, and how costly is it likely to be?
Be sure to discuss any likely biases from each approach.
1. Randomized telephone survey
2. A pop-up internet survey embedded in the City’s web site
3. An email survey sent to individual members of the City’s homeowners associations and block clubs
4. A mail survey sent out to a random sample of addresses in the City Survey Design

A colleague has provided you with the following survey questions, and you are charged with critiquing and improving them.
For each question, please identify any issues with problem construction and resulting construct validity.
Also, suggest alternative wording for the question.
NOTE: Not all of these questions have obviously or objectively correct answers.
We are interested in a concise statement of the issues that need to be considered.
1. The City of Autopia is forecasting a budget surplus of $100 million in 2016. How do you believe the City should use these surplus taxpayer dollars?
a. Reduce taxes and audit the City to weed out waste, fraud, and abuse.
b. Spend the money on increased union employee wages.
c. Spend the money on increased high density housing for low income residents.

2. The Republican led City Council has balanced the budget the last four years in a row? Who do you trust more to control City spending, the Republicans or the Democrats?
3. Does your family enjoy using the City park system?
a. No
b. Sometimes
c. A little
d. Frequently
e. Always

4. In view of escalating crime and other threats to public safety, do you favor increasing the number of beat police officers?
a. Yes
b. No
c. I don’t know

5. In the past year, how often has your family used the public library?

6. The Mayor has requested the addition of questions to elicit resident feedback on issues around recent cutbacks as well as impacts of the economic downturn on crime. In particular she would like questions that get citizen perceptions of:
(a) How well the police have been working to combat the recently increasing crime rate.
(b) How fair residents perceive the service cutbacks that were implemented in recent years.
(c) How they would rate their neighborhood as a place to live.
(d) How they rate the job performance of the mayor. What factors should you consider in regards to the order of these questions in the survey?

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Randomized telephone survey
The feasibility of implementing such a sampling via telephone would be an exceptional idea, however utilizing the modality of the telephone would probably inadvertently narrow your sample to older seniors within the city who have not gotten rid of their land lines and/or converted to cell phones as of yet. This sampling methodology will probably exclude many of the poor residents of the city who are not privy to a land line and who choose to utilize a cell phone due to convenience and/or cost....
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