In the Understanding America Study, a “sleeper” is a person who has not completed a survey for three months or more when during this period there have been at least two surveys offered in addition to the My Household quarterly update. At the end of each month an effort is made to re-engage these sleepers, including offering additional incentive, and a reminder that other adults in the household are also eligible to participate. The specific activities depend on the duration of the respondent having been inactive:
- 3 month sleepers.
- Have a phone number
- Email but no phone number
- No phone number and no email
- 4 month sleepers = 3 month sleepers who said they would participate when contacted, but did not do so.
- 10+ month sleepers.
Different steps are taken for each group of sleepers as described below. Note that prior to any steps within the sleeper protocol respondents will have already received email (when available) or postcard survey reminders for the surveys they have been selected for up until that point. A detailed pdf version of the UAS Sleeper Protocol is available for download here).
3 month sleepers
People who have not done a survey for 3 months are considered to be 3-month sleepers. These fall into 3 groups: have a phone number, email but no phone number, no phone number and no email.
Have a phone number
For sleepers with known phone numbers, the first Monday of each month members are called to ask them to start participating again. Each phone call takes places following a call script which aims to determine why a member became inactive, whether the member is willing to become active again and if not why not.
Email but no phone number
For sleepers with no phone number but an email address on file an email is sent asking members to become active again. Members are offered a bonus of $10 after completion of the first survey if they complete a survey within the next month.
No phone number and no email
For sleepers with no phone and no email address on file a letter is sent with the exact same text as for people with no phone number, but an email address on file.
4 month sleepers
People who have not done a survey for 4 months are considered to be 4-month sleepers. Sleepers who indicated they would start participating again in their 3-month phone call are sent an email or letter at the 4-month mark. This letter reminds them of their intent to take surveys again and offers them a one-time $10 bonus incentive if they complete a survey by the end of the month.
10 Month Sleepers
When someone has been sleeping for 10 months, they are a 10-month sleeper. At this point of time, an email/letter is sent asking the sleeper to start participating again. It gives a deadline of one month, while promising a $25 incentive for completing a survey by the end of the month.
After about six weeks without a response to the 10-month a final letter/email is send informing them that their UAS membership has been ended.
Final thank you letter
If at any time during the sleeper protocol stages the UAS member indicates they no longer wish to participate, a final thank you letter is sent. This letter thanks the member for their participation and reminds them they can always become a member again.