Caroline Bryson and Stephen McKay
Published 25 October 2018
The under-representation of non-resident parents in surveys has long hindered research on family separation, leaving key evidence gaps for those making policy and practice decisions related to separating and separated families, including (but not restricted to) issues around child support, child arrangements, welfare benefits and housing. In this paper, we articulate the importance of robust quantitative data collected directly from non-resident parents. We review the methods previously employed to attempt to achieve this, and we use the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) (University of Essex, ISER, 2017) to demonstrate where and how response biases occur. The main body of the paper reports findings from an experiment run on Wave 10 of the UKHLS Innovation Panel (Al Baghal et al., 2018; University of Essex, ISER, 2018) in which we compare two approaches to identifying non-resident parents from among the panel members. One method, a variant of that currently used in the UKHLS, asks panel members about living relatives with whom they do not live.