Data Quality in the Retrospective Reporting of Addresses

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation, National Opinion Research Center

May 20, 2010


This report examines the effectiveness of two techniques for cleaning and correcting incomplete address information. It utilizes data collected from residents of White Center, Wash., as part of Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections study. Making Connections was an ambitious 10-site, longterm initiative of Casey's devoted to advancing the premise that supportive communities can help empower families and enhance outcomes for children.   

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Not all options are equal when it comes to improving the quality of self-reported address data

This report sizes up two different data cleaning approaches. Option one: Administrative cleaning, where research assistants polish data via free resources and on-hand information. Option two: Retrieval, where a field-savvy team fills in knowledge gaps by calling residents and utilizing investigative, fee-based web tools. The cut-to-the-chase conclusion? Retrieval yields better results, hands down.

Findings & Stats

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And the Winner Is…

Researchers utilized the retrieval approach to complete 82% of the addresses in their data set while the administrative cleaning crew gathered full details for just 33% of their assigned addresses.

Statements & Quotations