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Improving a Web-Based Firm Level R&D Survey



J Powell


The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) is a federal science and technology program whose mission is to accelerate the development of innovative technologies for broad national benefit through partnerships with the private sector. To help correct certain market failures in the research and development (R&D) process, the ATP has provided over $2 billion in awards to businesses. As part of the program evaluation and project management process, the ATP collects data from program participants through several survey instruments. Since 1999, the Economic Assessment Office (EAO) at the ATP has used a web-based instrument for recurrent surveys. About 270 individual firms submit an annual business report during their participation in the program. This report is in a form of a series of questions and therefore report and survey are used interchangeably throughout this paper. EAO recently completed an analysis of these instruments. This review encompassed independent reviews by survey methodologists, cognitive testing, and a thorough analysis of the data collected from December 1999- to December 2002. This paper reports the results of the review and discusses the strengths and limitations of the Web platform. A fundamental conclusion is that web-based instruments offer significant opportunities to reduce respondent burden and improve the quality of data. Respondents were comfortable with the medium as a means to transfer sensitive information and appreciated the flexibility provided by the Web-based survey.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


focused interviews, program evaluation, survey improvement


Powell, J. (2017), Improving a Web-Based Firm Level R&D Survey, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created February 19, 2017