Proposals for NEW Experimental Modules Invited for the HRS 2022 wave

The HRS investigators welcome suggestions for experimental modules from the research community for the 2022 wave of HRS. Ideas for modules should be sent to the committee on experimental modules at the address below. HRS staff will work with authors of selected modules on final question text. However, providing draft question sequences or examples helps convey your idea more effectively than generalities. It is also helpful to include references to recent publications on the topic and other surveys that have treated the topic. Priority will be given to modules that enhance HRS content to provide the greatest overall benefit to the research community. All modules must conform to the same overall design limitations (described below). Module data are released to the public at the same time as all other data from that survey wave (typically by June of the year after data collection). The HRS investigators will make the final decision about which modules to include in each wave of interviews.

Experimental modules are administered to randomly-selected sub-samples of HRS self-respondents, after the main interview is completed, with a strict limit of two to three minutes in average length. Each respondent is randomly assigned to one and only one module. Respondents can refuse to participate in any module before assignment, and can refuse to answer questions in the module to which they are randomly assigned, but interviewers cannot offer nor can respondents choose to respond to a module other than the one selected at random. The sample size for each module depends on the number of modules included and the number of self-respondents in that wave. In general, though, the number of respondents who complete each module ranges between 1,400 and 1,800.

In order to preserve the random selection of participants in all modules, it is essential that each module be appropriate for telephone, face-to-face and web modes and that it be designed for the entire HRS sample. Modules that target specific groups by age, sex, health status, or any other variable do not fit well within this structure. If one module were asked of all 51-56 year olds, for example, then the other modules would not represent that age group, with negative consequences for all of them. It is possible, however, to construct different sequences of questions for different groups within a module. For example, a module about cancer knowledge could ask women about breast cancer and men about prostate cancer. Also note that because individual respondents are assigned randomly, it is not possible to require husbands and wives to answer the same module. Finally, bear in mind that HRS respondents represent America’s older population and experimental modules are given at the end of a very long interview. Excessively complicated or difficult topics should be avoided.

The timetable for module development for the 2022 interview wave is as follows:

  • January 15, 2021: Proposals due
  • February 19, 2021: Final selection by HRS co-investigators
  • April 30, 2021: Final question text and specifications due
  • July 2023: Estimated preliminary release of data from HRS 2022

Proposals for modules should be sent to: hrsquestions@umich.edu. Please include the word "module" as the first word in your subject heading. Please direct any questions about the process or your application to hrsquestions@umich.edu as well.