Technical Information and Data
BRFSS POLICY MEMO 97.3
Final Disposition Rules for Eligible Respondents
When a household has been contacted and an eligible* respondent has been
selected, the final disposition must reflect the identification of an
eligible respondent (i.e., "complete" [01**], "refused" , "selected
respondent not available during the interviewing period" , or
"terminated within questionnaire" ). The final disposition cannot be a
"ring-no-answer" (04) or "line-busy" (10). Final "ring-no-answer" and
"line-busy" dispositions indicate that it is unknown whether there was an
eligible respondent at the sampled phone number.
Following are guidelines for assigning the appropriate disposition
depending on the identification of an eligible respondent:
1. A selected respondent who is not available when selected and is not
reached on subsequent dialings should be dispositioned as "selected
respondent not available during the interviewing period."
2. A selected respondent who refuses initially and is not spoken to on
subsequent calls should be dispositioned "refused."
3. A selected respondent who begins the interview but terminates before
being asked the age, race, and sex questions should be dispositioned
"terminated within questionnaire" if they are not reached on subsequent
NO RESPONDENT SELECTED
1. The choices of disposition for calls that are answered but are
terminated without an eligible respondent being selected are "refused," "not
a private residence (05)," "no eligible respondent at this number (06),"
"language barrier (08)," and "respondent unable to communicate due to
physical or mental impairment (11)". A hang-up that does not result in
enough information on subsequent calls to choose one of these dispositions
requires supervisory review. If in the supervisor's judgment there is
sufficient basis to believe the sampled phone number was a private
residence, "refused" would be the appropriate disposition. However, a
hang-up for which there is no information on whether a phone is in a private
residence may be given a final "ring-no-answer" disposition.
2. If a sampled phone number reaches an answering machine, it may be
dispositioned "not a private residence" if the message clearly indicates
that the phone is not in a private residence. If the recorded message (1)
does not provide enough information to determine the residential status of
the phone number and is never answered by a person, or (2) indicates it is a
residence but is never answered by a person, then the number may be given a
final "ring-no-answer" disposition once the rules of replacement are
Implementing these guidelines for CATI systems will require that final
"ring-no-answer" and "busy" dispositions be converted to the appropriate
codes when an eligible respondent was selected. For Ci3 CATI, the
CLEANALL.EXE program has been revised to do these conversions.
*If the selected respondent is unable to communicate due to language
barrier (08) or physical or mental impairment (11), they are not eligible
and the phone number should be dispositioned with the respective code.
**All disposition codes referenced are final BRFSS disposition codes per
Numbered Memo 95.2 (2/27/95). During data collection, CATI systems utilize
different codes that are converted to the final code set.