HUD is interested in testing new and innovative methodologies to research housing discrimination and understand different aspects of discrimination than what paired testing traditionally focuses on. Following the completion of the 2012 HDS study, articles in the Cityscape journal noted that using paired testing to conduct research of broader patterns of housing discrimination may underreport evidence of discrimination. Research that relies on paired testing to investigate broad patterns in housing discrimination may report a lower bound of the prevalence of discrimination (Turner and James 2015) in certain circumstances, including the following—
- Research that constructs samples from advertised housing units. Paired testing may be unable to detect discrimination among all types of housing providers because some housing providers may intentionally avoid or limit public advertising to exclude minorities and other potential residents (Freiberg and Squires 2015; Pitingolo and Ross 2015).
- Paired testing research that assesses the initial interaction with housing providers. Some housing providers may change their behavior in subsequent meetings with housing applicants they initially deem favorable, but such changes would not be revealed in the initial interaction (Freiberg and Squires 2015).
- Research on segments of the housing market where access is limited such as gated communities, tax credit housing, and nursing homes, among others (Freiberg and Squires 2015).
- Research that uses market-wide tests that may have omitted or under sampled smaller geographic areas with high housing discrimination rates (Pitingolo and Ross 2015).
Another recent challenge to measuring housing discrimination is that inquiries about rental units can now be conducted online without the need for tenants to divulge their personal characteristics. New technology permits online housing searches, including searches via smartphones, and home-seekers may also be able to gather more information about available rental and sales units without divulging their personal characteristics. This results in discrimination later in the interaction with housing providers which is not typically measured in research using paired testing. At the same time, housing providers may be able to detect customer characteristics by screening phone messages, using Caller ID, or even employing real-time, web-based identity verification engines. Testing protocols must adapt to these technological changes, both to avoid detection and to capture differential treatment that might occur before in-person interactions.