Data collection for the 2004 Census of Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices was conducted by RTI International (RTI) on behalf of BJS under cooperative agreement 2005-MU-MU-K011. BJS provided an initial draft questionnaire and respondent list to RTI. RTI reviewed the draft questionnaire for general content and design and coordinated a forensic expert panel review of the instrument to obtain feedback on specific items.
The initial list of ME/C offices operating in the United States was provided to BJS by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. RTI updated the list and conducted telephone verification of contact information for each office.
Data were collected by mixed mode. In addition to mail-out packages, RTI created a web site on which respondents could access the questionnaire and provide responses electronically. Follow-up efforts included Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and e-mail. Seventy-one percent of respondents used mail or facsimile transmission of data, 13% responded via the Internet, and 16% responded by telephone.
A total of 1,998 ME/C offices were enumerated in the census. Despite extensive follow-up efforts, 281 ME/C offices did not respond to the request for information, yielding an overall response rate of 85.9%.