O*NET® Data Collection Overview

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a comprehensive database of worker attributes and job characteristics. As the replacement for the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), O*NET information is the nation's primary source of occupational information.

The O*NET Data Collection Program is a critical step for full O*NET development. The project has established a continuing data collection program to populate and maintain the O*NET database. The data collection is designed to provide data that are valid, reliable, current, and regularly updated.

Prior to initiating data collection, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Center for O*NET Development, through its contractor Research Triangle Institute, conducted the O*NET Data Collection Program Survey Pretest to evaluate the impact of alternative survey features on response rates. Pretest results informed design of the current, full-scale data collection efforts, which began in June 2001. Information is collected using a two-stage design in which:

  1. a statistically random sample of businesses expected to employ workers in the targeted occupations will be identified and
  2. a random sample of workers in those occupations within those businesses will be selected. New data will be collected by surveying job incumbents using standardized questionnaires.

The O*NET Data Collection Program provides several hundred ratings, based on responses by the sampled workers to the O*NET questionnaires. It is not feasible to ask each respondent to provide information for all data elements. To reduce the burden on respondents, the questions have been organized into three questionnaires, each containing a different set of questions. The sampled job incumbents for each occupation are randomly assigned one of the three questionnaires. All respondents are also asked to complete a task questionnaire and provide some general demographic information. Abilities and Skills information is developed by occupational analysts using the updated information from incumbent workers.

For additional information on the Office of Management and Budget Clearance process, see OMB Clearance.

For detailed reports on the development of the O*NET Database, see Reports and Documents.