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Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


Notice with comment period.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of its continuing efforts to reduce public burden and maximize the utility of government information, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This notice invites comment on the Questionnaire Design Research Laboratory (QDRL)generic clearance request, which encompasses general questionnaire development and pre-testing activities to be carried out in 2014-2017.


Written comments must be received on or before May 18, 2015.


You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CDC-2015-0007 by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Leroy A. Richardson, Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket Number. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to

Please note:

All public comment should be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal ( or by U.S. mail to the address listed above.

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To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, contact the Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329; phone: 404-639-7570; Email:

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Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. In addition, the PRA also requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each new proposed collection, each proposed extension of existing collection of information, and each reinstatement of previously approved information collection before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, we are publishing this notice of a proposed data collection as described below.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information, to search data sources, to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

Proposed Project

Questionnaire Design Research Laboratory (QDRL) (OMB No. 0920-0222, expires 6/30/2015)—Revision—National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Background and Brief Description

Section 306 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 U.S.C. 242k), as amended, authorizes that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (DHHS), acting through NCHS, shall undertake and support (by grant or contract) research, demonstrations, and evaluations respecting new or improved methods for obtaining current data to support statistical and epidemiological activities for the purpose of improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of health services in the United States.

The Questionnaire Design Research Laboratory (QDRL) is the focal point within NCHS for questionnaire development, pre-testing, and evaluation activities for CDC surveys (such as the NCHS National Health Interview Survey, OMB No. 0920-0214) and other federally sponsored surveys; however, question development and evaluation activities are conducted throughout NCHS. NCHS is requesting 3 Start Printed Page 13869years of OMB Clearance for this generic submission.

The QDRL and other NCHS programs conduct cognitive interviews, focus groups, in-depth or ethnographic interviews, usability tests, field tests/pilot interviews, and experimental research in laboratory and field settings, both for applied questionnaire development and evaluation as well as more basic research on response errors in surveys.

Various techniques to evaluate interviewer administered, self-administered, telephone, Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI), Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing (CASI), Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing (ACASI), and web-based questionnaires are used.

The most common questionnaire evaluation method is the cognitive interview. These evaluations are conducted by the QDRL. The interview structure consists of respondents first answering a draft survey question and then providing textual information to reveal the processes involved in answering the test question. Specifically, cognitive interview respondents are asked to describe how and why they answered the question as they did. Through the interviewing process, various types of question-response problems that would not normally be identified in a traditional survey interview, such as interpretive errors and recall accuracy, are uncovered. By conducting a comparative analysis of cognitive interviews, it is also possible to determine whether particular interpretive patterns occur within particular sub-groups of the population. Interviews are generally conducted in small rounds of 20-30 interviews; ideally, the questionnaire is re-worked between rounds, and revisions are tested iteratively until interviews yield relatively few new insights.

Cognitive interviewing is inexpensive and provides useful data on questionnaire performance while minimizing respondent burden. Cognitive interviewing offers a detailed depiction of meanings and processes used by respondents to answer questions—processes that ultimately produce the survey data. As such, the method offers an insight that can transform understanding of question validity and response error. Documented findings from these studies represent tangible evidence of how the question performs. Such documentation also serves CDC data users, allowing them to be critical users in their approach and application of the data.

In addition to cognitive interviewing, a number of other qualitative and quantitative methods are used to investigate and research survey response errors and the survey response process. These methods include conducting focus groups, usability tests, in-depth or ethnographic interviews, and the administration and analysis of questions in both representative and non-representative field tests. Focus groups are conducted by the QDRL. They are group interviews whose primary purpose is to elicit the basic sociocultural understandings and terminology that form the basis of questionnaire design. Each group typically consists of one moderator and 4 to 10 participants, depending on the research question. In-depth or ethnographic interviews are one-on-one interviews designed to elicit the understandings or terminology that are necessary for question design, as well as to gather detailed information that can contribute to the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. Usability tests are typically one-on-one interviews that are used to determine how a given survey or information collection tool functions in the field, and how the mode and layout of the instrument itself may contribute to survey response error and the survey response process.

In addition to these qualitative methods, NCHS also uses various tools to obtain quantitative data, which can be analyzed alone or analyzed alongside qualitative data to give a much fuller accounting of the survey response process. For instance, phone, internet, mail, and in-person follow-up interviews of previous NCHS survey respondents may be used to test the validity of survey questions and questionnaires and to obtain more detailed information that cannot be gathered on the original survey. Additionally, field or pilot tests may be conducted on both representative and non-representative samples, including those obtained from commercial survey and web panel vendors. Beyond looking at traditional measures of survey errors (such as missing rates, item non-response, and don't know rates), these pilot tests can be used to run experimental designs in order to capture how different questions function in a field setting.

Similar methodology has been adopted by other federal agencies, as well as by academic and commercial survey organizations. There are no costs to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annual burden hours are 13,150.

Estimated Annualized Burden Hours

Type of respondentForm nameNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden per response (in hours)Total burden hours
Individuals or householdsEligibility Screening12,00015/601,000
Individuals or householdsQuestionnaire Development Studies11,7001111,700
Individuals or householdsFocus groups300190/60450
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Leroy A. Richardson,

Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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[FR Doc. 2015-06050 Filed 3-16-15; 8:45 am]