ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

The Use of Facebook as a Locating and Contacting Tool

Tricia McCarthy

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 1 - Law Building, Room 024
Date: 2012-07-12 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-26


Approaching its 15th round of interviewing in 2011-2012, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago and the Center for Human Resource Research at the Ohio State University, and commissioned by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It contains a sample of almost 9,000 individuals currently ages 26-31, and gathers data on factors regarding economics, education, health, and the transition into the workforce. Like with any longitudinal study, each round one of the most important factors to completing an interview is making direct contact with the respondent. Given the age of the sample, social networks are very appealing forms of locating methods due to their popularity with this age group. The NLSY97 project staff has created a process to allow locating and messaging of respondents through a single Facebook profile, controlled centrally. Given the strict confidentiality policies in place by the United States federal government, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and NORC at the University of Chicago, using social networks to locate or make contact with respondents on the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 requires great care and attention to confidentiality concerns. The purpose of this paper is to explain pros and cons of this process and the confidentiality guidelines behind it, as well as an exploration of the outcomes in the 14th round of the NLSY97 and areas for improvement.