[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 114 (Wednesday, June 13, 2018)]
[Pages 27592-27593]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-12696]



Energy Information Administration

Agency Information Collection Proposed New Survey or Extension

AGENCY: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Department of 
Energy (DOE).

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: EIA is requesting a three-year extension of EIA-882T, 
``Generic Clearance for Questionnaire Testing, Evaluation, and 
Research.'' EIA-882T provides EIA with the authority to utilize 
qualitative and quantitative methodologies to pretest questionnaires 
and validate the quality of data collected on EIA's surveys. EIA uses 
EIA-882T to meet its obligation to publish, and otherwise make 
available independent, high-quality statistical data to federal 
government agencies, state and local governments, the energy industry, 
researchers, and the general public.

DATES: EIA must receive all comments on this proposed information 
collection no later than August 13, 2018. If you anticipate any 
difficulties in submitting your comments by the deadline, contact the 
person listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice as soon as 

ADDRESSES: Send your comments to Brian Hewitt, U.S. Energy Information 
Administration, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, EI-21 Washington, DC 
20585. If you prefer, you can email them to: brian.hewitt@eia.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you need additional information, 
send your request to Brian Hewitt, U.S. Energy Information 
Administration, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, EI-21, Washington, DC 
20585. If you prefer, you can email brian.hewitt@eia.gov or contact him 
by telephone at 202-586-5045.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This information collection request 
    (1) OMB No.: 1905-0186;
    (2) Information Collection Request Title: Generic Clearance for 
Questionnaire Testing, Evaluation, and Research;
    (3) Type of Request: Renewal;
    (4) Purpose: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is 
requesting a three-year approval from the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) to utilize qualitative and quantitative methodologies to 
pretest questionnaires and validate the quality of the data that is 
collected on EIA and DOE survey forms. Through the use of these 
methodologies, EIA will conduct research studies to improve the quality 
of energy data being collected, reduce or minimize survey respondent 
burden, and increase agency efficiency. This authority would also allow 
EIA to improve data collection in order to meet the needs of EIA's 
customers while also staying current in the evolving nature of the 
energy industry.
    The specific methods proposed for the coverage by this clearance 
are described below. Also outlined is the legal authority for these 
voluntary information gathering activities.

[[Page 27593]]

    The following methods are proposed:
    Pilot Surveys. Pilot surveys conducted under this clearance will 
generally be methodological studies, and will always employ 
statistically representative samples. The pilot surveys will replicate 
all components of the methodological design, sampling procedures (where 
possible), and questionnaires of the full scale survey. Pilot surveys 
will normally be utilized when EIA undertakes a complete redesign of a 
particular data collection methodology or when EIA undertakes data 
collection in new energy areas, such as HGL production, alternative 
fueled motor vehicles, and other emerging areas of the energy sector 
where data collection would provide utility to EIA.
    Cognitive Interviews. Cognitive interviews are typically one-on-one 
interviews in which the respondent is usually asked to ``think aloud'' 
or is asked ``retrospective questions'' as he or she answers questions, 
reads survey materials, defines terminology, or completes other 
activities as part of a typical survey process. A number of different 
techniques may be involved including, asking respondents what specific 
words or phrases mean or asking respondents probing questions to 
determine how they estimate, calculate, or determine specific data 
elements on a survey. The objectives of these cognitive interviews are 
to identify problems of ambiguity or misunderstanding, examine the 
process that respondents follow for reporting information, assess 
survey respondents' ability to report new information, or identify 
other difficulties respondents have answering survey questions in order 
to reduce measurement error from estimates based on a survey.
    Respondent Debriefings. Respondent debriefings conducted under this 
clearance will generally be methodological or cognitive research 
studies. The debriefing form is administered after a respondent 
completes a questionnaire either in paper format, electronically, or 
through in-person interviews. The debriefings contain probing questions 
to determine how respondents interpret the survey questions, how much 
time and effort was spent completing the questionnaire, and whether 
they have problems in completing the survey/questionnaire. Respondent 
debriefings also are useful in determining potential issues with data 
quality and in estimating respondent burden.
    Usability Testing. Usability tests are similar to cognitive 
interviews in which a respondent is typically asked to ``think aloud'' 
or asked ``retrospective questions'' as he or she reviews an electronic 
questionnaire, website, visual aid, or hard copy survey form. The 
objective of usability testing is to check that respondents can easily 
and intuitively navigate electronic survey collection programs, 
websites, and other survey instruments to submit their data to EIA.
    Focus Groups. Focus groups, in person or online, involve group 
sessions guided by a moderator who follows a topic guide containing 
questions or subjects focused on a particular issue rather than 
adhering to a standardized cognitive interview protocol. Focus groups 
are useful for exploring issues concerning the design of a form and the 
meaning of terms from a specific group of respondents, data users, or 
other stakeholders of EIA data.
    (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,870;
    (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 1,870;
    (7) Annual Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 1,915;
    (8) Annual Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Cost Burden: There 
are no additional costs associated with these survey methods other than 
the burden hours. The information is maintained in the normal course of 
business. The annual cost in burden hours to the respondents is 
estimated to be $144,946 (1,915 burden hours times $75.69 per hour), 
which represents a reduction of 85 burden hours from the prior renewal 
of this collection. Therefore, other than the cost of burden hours, EIA 
estimates that there are no additional costs for generating, 
maintaining, and providing the information.
    Comments are invited on whether or not: (a) The proposed collection 
of information is necessary for the proper performance of agency 
functions, including whether the information will have a practical 
utility; (b) EIA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of 
information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
used, is accurate; (c) EIA can improve the quality, utility, and 
clarity of the information it will collect; and (d) EIA can minimize 
the burden of the collection of information on respondents, such as 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
    Statutory Authority: Section 13(b) of the Federal Energy 
Administration Act of 1974, Pub. L. 93-275, codified as 15 U.S.C. 
772(b) and the DOE Organization Act of 1977, Pub. L. 95-91, codified at 
42 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 29, 2018.
Nanda Srinivasan,
Director, Office of Survey Development and Statistical Integration, 
U.S. Energy Information Administration.
[FR Doc. 2018-12696 Filed 6-12-18; 8:45 am]