Two new models for survey sampling with sensitive characteristic: Design and analysis

Jun Wu Yu, Guo Liang Tian*, Man Lai TANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


Sensitive topics or highly personal questions are often being asked in medical, psychological and sociological surveys. This paper proposes two new models (namely, the triangular and crosswise models) for survey sampling with the sensitive characteristics. We derive the maximum likelihood estimates (MLEs) and large-sample confidence intervals for the proportion of persons with sensitive characteristic. The modified MLEs and their asymptotic properties are developed. Under certain optimality criteria, the designs for the cooperative parameter are provided and the sample size formulas are given. We compare the efficiency of the two models based on the variance criterion. The proposed models have four advantages: neither model requires randomizing device, the models are easy to be implemented for both interviewer and interviewee, the interviewee does not face any sensitive questions, and both models can be applied to both face-to-face personal interviews and mail questionnaires.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty

User-Defined Keywords

  • Maximum likelihood estimate
  • Randomized response technique
  • Randomizing device
  • Sensitive questions
  • Warner's model


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