Eliciting Information on Sensitive Features: Block Total Response Technique and Related Inference

K. Nandy, M. Marcovitz, B. K. Sinha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Randomized Response Technique was first introduced and popularized by Warner in 1965. Since then, survey sampling theoreticians and practitioners have contributed significantly in this area of survey methodological research. The idea is to be able to elicit a "truthful" response on sensitive feature(s) from the sampled respondents (of a finite labeled population of respondents), so that eventually the population mean of the sensitive feature can be unbiasedly estimated. Toward this, a novel technique was introduced by Raghavarao and Federer (1979) and it was termed "Block Total Response" (BTR) technique. We undertake various meaningful versions/generalizations of the BTR technique, after a brief review of the literature in this direction. In the process, we also introduce empirical Bayes estimators.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Gathering, Analysis and Protection of Privacy Through Randomized Response Techniques
Subtitle of host publicationQualitative and Quantitative Human Traits, 2016
EditorsArijit Chaudhuri, Tasos C. Christofides, C.R. Rao
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780444635709
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameHandbook of Statistics
ISSN (Print)0169-7161


  • Balanced incomplete block design
  • Binary proper equireplicate block design
  • Block total response technique
  • Empirical Bayes estimators
  • Randomized response technique
  • Regular feature
  • Sensitive feature


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