Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology 8 (2020), pp 442–452.

doi: 10.1093/jssam/smz025


Copyright © 2019 Kristen Olson. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. Used by permission.


This paper provides a discussion of the Tourangeau (2019) Morris Hansen Lecture paper. I address issues related to compounding errors in web surveys and the relationship between nonresponse and measurement errors. I provide a potential model for understanding when error sources in nonprobability web surveys may compound or counteract one other. I also provide three conceptual models that help explicate the joint relationship between nonresponse and measurement errors.

Tourangeau’s paper provides two interesting case studies about the role of multiple error sources in survey data. The first case study is one in which errors occur at different stages of the representation process—errors first occur when creating a potential sample frame, then may be amplified when selecting sampled persons, possibly because of self-selection, and then are exacerbated with an individual’s decision to participate. The second case study has to do with situations where different error sources may influence each other and, in particular, the relationship between nonresponse error and various measurement error outcomes.