Who Responded to the Harvard/Northeastern National Firearms Survey?

I have seen some skepticism on-line about the fact that the Harvard/Northeastern National Firearms Survey was based on paid participants. I don’t really care whether the respondents were paid or not, so long as the sample is representative of the general population.

Having found a copy of a conference paper about the National Firearms Survey, I looked immediately to the methods section to see how the authors describe the sampling method and sample:

Data for this study come from a national web-based survey (N=3949) conducted in January 2015 by the survey research firm GfK. Respondents were drawn from GfK’s KnowledgePanel (KP), an on-line panel that includes approximately 55,000 U.S. adults. The KP panel is selected (on an ongoing basis), using an equal probability of selection design so as to provide samples, after minor adjustments for deviations from equal probability selection (base weights), that are representative of the US population. Prior to selection of a study sample, GfK adjusts panel base weights to account for any discrepancies between panel composition and the distribution of key demographic characteristics of the US population as reflected in the most recent Current Population Survey (GfK, 2013). We oversampled gun owners (n=2072) and veterans (n=1004).
The final study weights provided by GfK combined pre-sample weights with a set of study-specific post-stratification weights accounting for oversampling and for survey nonresponse. For our survey, 7,318 KP panel members received an invitation to participate. Of these, 3,949 completed the survey, yielding a survey completion rate of 54.6%. In contrast, non-probability, opt-in, online panels typically achieve a survey  completion rate between 2% to 16% (Callegaro & DiSogra). All panel members, except those currently serving in the US armed forces were eligible to participate.
Given this information, I don’t have any strong reason to suspect that the findings of this particular survey are any more or less accurate than other surveys.
If others know something about GfK’s Knowledge Panels that I should be aware of in interpreting these results, please let me know!

8 thoughts on “Who Responded to the Harvard/Northeastern National Firearms Survey?

  1. Pingback: Who Responded to the Harvard/Northeastern National Firearms Survey? |

      • I have been working up a post on surveys of gun ownership and their discontents, but it gets more complex and longer all the time.

        One challenge I am finding is that the people we know probably own guns and who might be suspicious about people asking them questions about guns (more conservative, older men in the rural south and mountain west) are more likely to self-report owning guns than others.

        So, I wonder more about those people who might be reluctant to report owning guns not because they are suspicious but because they are concerned about the possible stigma (e.g., liberals, racial minorities, urbanites, women). We already know that women historically underreport gun ownership.

        If these latter groups are underreporting gun ownership, it is particularly problematic because it shifts our imagine of what a typical gun owner looks like.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Congratulations, with your use of profanity in some of your posts you’re building a following not unlike the following of blogs like The Truth About Guns, who will believe any crazy conspiracy theory about the gun-control movement.


    • Congratulations, with your point being based on something that is not in this post whatsoever and is vanishingly not on this blog to begin with, you are showing the worthlessness of your commentary. Nice try at false associations and ad hominem attacks on David’s readership, but you fail on that point as well.

      Liked by 2 people

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