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March 2009 Census Test

What is a field test?

Field tests are run before any main survey, and Statistics New Zealand carries out testing prior to each census. The March 2009 Census Test was the first field test leading up to the 2011 Census. It was a small scale test which was used to trial specific parts of the census process.

When is the March 2009 Census Test going to happen?

Test day was 24 March 2009. Statistics NZ collectors initially visited households between 9–23 March.

Who will be involved?

Approximately 1250 households in the Canterbury region were randomly selected to participate in the census test.

How is it going to happen?

A pre-notification letter was delivered to households selected to take part in the test. All members of selected households were asked to partake. Participating households were able to complete their forms online or on the paper forms provided from 9 March–5 April.

What is the purpose of the test?

The March 2009 Census Test was a way to trial parts of the process which have been refined including Internet initiatives, field collection strategies and proposed minor changes to the census forms. It was not a 'mini census' and as the content and forms are still in the research/development stage, the test forms did not necessarily reflect what will be in the final version.

Why is the test important?

Field tests are an important methodology to help us better understand the public environment, and improve upon previous censuses and how effectively we operate. Participation in the March 2009 Census Test helps us as we continue to develop the 2011 Census to ensure it is respondent-friendly and meets information needs.

What are the next steps following the completion of the test?

Follow-up telephone interviews on a sample of willing respondents occurred in April 2009. The March 2009 Census Test was followed by a dress rehearsal in March 2010.

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