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The Research and Development Survey (RANDS) is a series of cross-sectional surveys from probability-sampled commercial survey panels which began in 2015. RANDS has been used for methodological research at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), including the use of close-ended probe questions and split-panel experiments for evaluating question-response patterns and the development of statistical methodology for the calibration of survey estimates that leverage the strength of national survey data. Survey results have been used in evaluating estimation approaches for health outcomes from recruited survey panels, including propensity score adjustment and calibration. In addition, the targeted embedded probe questions in RANDS have expanded findings from NCHS’ Collaborating Center for Questionnaire Design and Evaluation Research (CCQDER) cognitive interviews to a wider sample.

Three rounds of surveys have been completed, with responses collected during fall of 2015, spring of 2016, and spring of 2019 (referred to as RANDS 1, RANDS 2, and RANDS 3, respectively). Each survey examines a sample of approximately 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and over. The questionnaires are designed to be completed within 15 to 20 minutes and contain questions on health behaviors and conditions. Rounds 1,  2, and 3 of RANDS contain existing questions from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). In addition, RANDS 2 and RANDS 3 contain embedded probe questions for cognitive evaluations. The specific topics included on each round of RANDS varies, although previous rounds have contained questions on access to healthcare and utilization, chronic conditions, food security, general health, health insurance, opioid use, physical activity, psychological distress, and smoking.

RANDS is administered by external contractors using their proprietary recruited probability panels. Rounds 1 and 2 of RANDS were conducted by Gallupexternal icon using the Gallup Panel, while RANDS 3 was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORCexternal icon) using the Amerispeak Panel. Each round is conducted as a probability survey using recruited panels, with sampling strata assigned by demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, age group, and education level. The panels and sample weighting methods differ between the external contractors, although both contractors adjust the data using poststratification weighting to maintain proportionality of demographic groups in the population.

Page last reviewed: June 8, 2020