ERIC Number: ED169966
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr-9
Validation of Techniques Utilized to Maximize Survey Response Rates.
Odom, John G.
Research has identified a number of effective means of maximizing returns to mailed questionnaires. The accompanying cover letter, the first contact with the potential respondents, may be the most important aspect of the survey. Studies indicate that the most effective cover letters incorporate personalization with an altruistic and/or egoistic appeal which might also include an attitude of "contributing to science;" that letterheads are an important contributor to returns as they appear to carry an official sanction of the research; and that a guarantee of confidentiality and/or anonymity is especially important. Though questionnaire length has been the subject of a great deal of study, it may not be as important as other factors such as neatness and attractiveness, placement of difficult sections of the survey, cover design, clear and meaningful language appropriate to the audience, objective questions, and respondent interest. Follow-up surveys have consistently been used to effectively reduce non-response bias; the inclusion of a duplicate copy or short form of the questionnaire has been used successfully as a part of the follow-up procedure. Based upon these findings, three separate surveys--of college freshmen, dental school deans, and behavioral scientists--were designed using the same basic procedures. Response rates for each were in excess of 80%. (AYC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, California, April 8-12, 1979). Not available in hard copy due to marginal reproducibility of the original document