This course will cover the steps used in weighting sample surveys, including methods for adjusting for nonresponse and using data external to the survey for calibration. Among the techniques discussed are adjustments using estimated response propensities, poststratification, raking, and general regression estimation. Alternative techniques for imputing values for missing items will be discussed. For both weighting and imputation, the capabilities of different statistical software packages will be covered, including R®, Stata®, and SAS®.
General Steps in Weighting
Weights are used to expand a sample to a population. To accomplish this, the weights may correct for coverage errors in the sampling frame, adjust for nonresponse, and reduce variances of estimators by incorporating covariates. The series of steps needed to do this are covered in Module 1.
Specific steps in weighting include computing base weights, adjusting if there are cases whose eligibility we are unsure of, adjusting for nonresponse, and using covariates to calibrate the sample to external population controls. We flesh out the general steps with specific details here.
Implementing the Steps
Software is critical to implementing the steps, but the R system is an excellent source of free routines. This module covers several R packages, including sampling, survey, and PracTools that will select samples and compute weights.
Imputing for Missing Items
In most surveys there will be items for which respondents do not provide information, even though the respondent completed enough of the data collection instrument to be considered "complete". If only the cases with all items present are retained when fitting a model, quite a few cases may be excluded from the analysis. Imputing for the missing items avoids dropping the missing cases. We cover methods of doing the imputing and of reflecting the effects of imputations on standard errors in this module.
Summary of Course 5
We briefly summarize the methods of weighting and imputation that were covered in Course 5.