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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Webinar Details

When and How to Add Cell Phones to Your Telephone Survey

Scott Keeter, PhD
Thursday, August 25, 2011

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Course Description

This webinar will address the question of when and how to include a cell phone sample in your telephone surveys. With more than one-fourth of U.S. households now reachable only by cell phone, it is becoming increasingly important to include a cell phone sample in telephone surveys. But doing so can be costly and complicated. The presentation has four objectives:

1. Examine past research to determine when it’s important to include cell phones

2. Describe how to obtain cell phone samples and review best practices in calling cell phones

3. Discuss the statistical issues involved in combining landline and cell phone samples

4. Describe the cost implications of calling cell phones.

Learning Objectives:

After participating in this webinar, attendees will know:

  1. Why it is important to include cell phones in surveys of the general public and many special populations

  2. How to obtain cell phone samples, how to use them, and the cost implications of doing so

  3. How to integrate cell phone data with landline data

About Your Instructor


SCOTT KEETER is director of survey research for the Pew Research Center in Washington, D,C. His published work includes books and articles on public opinion, political participation and civic engagement, religion and politics, American elections and survey methodology. He has written extensively on the impact of cell phones on survey accuracy, as well as on the practical challenges of including cell phones in telephone surveys. 

Keeter is the current president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). Since 1980 he has been an election night analyst of exit polls for NBC News. A native of North Carolina, he attended Davidson College as an undergraduate and received a PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught at George Mason University, Rutgers University and Virginia Commonwealth University.


Many types of calls, even those for public opinion purposes, are subject to certain federal restrictions in the United States under the Telephone Consumer Protections Act (also known as TCPA). Among other things, this legislation generally prohibits using an automatic telephone dialing system to call and text mobile phone numbers without obtaining the prior express consent of the person receiving the call or text. Fines for violations of TCPA range from $500 to $1500 per call or text. Through the legal concept of vicarious liability these fines may extend beyond the firm that actually makes the call into the company that commissions the research. Please visit https://www.aapor.org/Education-Resources/TCPA.aspx for up to date information about TCPA and regularly consult your legal team to understand your TCPA risk, including the changing interpretation of what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system and prior express consent for TCPA purposes.