A gatekeeper is a person who stands between the data collector and a potential respondent. Gatekeepers, by virtue of their personal or work relationship to a respondent, are able to control who has access, and when, to the respondent. Furthermore, they may be encountered on both field (in-person) and telephone data collection surveys. They may also be encountered in mail surveys in which a respondent's material must be sent to, or in care of, another individual for distribution to the respondent (e.g. sending materials to a parent for distribution to a respondent away at college or in the military, or sending materials to an employer for distribution to sampled employees).

Gatekeepers can take many forms, including guards or doormen at secured residential or business complexes; secretaries, ...

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