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This article refers to data surrounding the administration of surveys. For information about contextualized usage data for digital learning resources see Paradata (Learning Resource Analytics)

The paradata of a survey are data about the process by which the survey data were collected.[1][2] Paradata are usually "administrative data about the survey."[3]

Example paradata topics about a survey include the times of day interviews were conducted, how long the interviews took, how many times there were contacts with each interviewee or attempts to contact the interviewee, the reluctance of the interviewee, and the mode of communication (such as phone, Web, email, or in person).[4] Thus there are paradata about each observation in the survey. These attributes affect the costs and management of a survey, the findings of a survey, evaluations of interviewers, and inferences one might make about non-respondents.

In principle a survey's metadata includes its paradata.

The term is attributed to Couper (1998).[5]


  1. ^ O'Reilly, Jim. Paradata and Blaise: A Review of Recent Applications and Research.
  2. ^ Groves, R.M. and Heeringa, S.G., (2006). "Responsive design for household surveys: tools for actively controlling survey errors and costs." Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), Volume 169, Issue 3, pages 439–457
  3. ^ Safir, Black, and Steinbach. 2001. Using Paradata to Examine the Effects of Interviewer Characteristics on Survey Response and Data Quality, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association,
  4. ^ Taylor, Beth L. 2008. The 2006 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Paradata File: Overview and Applications. Section of Survey Research Methods--JSM 2008.
  5. ^ Frauke Kreuter; Mick Couper; Lars Lyberg. The use of paradata to monitor and manage survey data collection. Section on Survey Research Methods – JSM 2010. (online at, citing Couper, M. 1998. Measuring survey quality in a CASIC environment. In Proceedings of the Section on Survey Research Methods of the American Statistical Association.