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NCJ Number: 50108 Find in a Library
Title: FACTORS AFFECTING RESPONSE RATES TO MAILED QUESTIONNAIRES - A QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE PUBLISHED LITERATURE
Journal: AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW  Volume:43  Issue:4  Dated:(AUGUST 1978)  Pages:447-462
Author(s): T A HEBERLEIN; R BAUMGARTNER
Corporate Author: American Sociological Review
Managing Editor
American Sociological Assoc
United States of America

American Sociological Review
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: American Sociological Review
Albany, NY 12210
American Sociological Review
Washington, DC 20036
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Madison, WI 53706
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A LITERATURE SEARCH REVEALED 98 METHODOLOGICAL STUDIES OF MAILED QUESTIONNAIRES, WHICH TESTED 71 FACTORS. A SERIES OF 214 STATISTICAL MANIPULATIONS WERE THEN USED WITH THIS DATA TO ISOLATE THOSE FACTORS AFFECTING RESPONSE.
Abstract: THE 71 VARIABLES UNCOVERED IN THE LITERATURE SEARCH FELL INTO FOUR CATEGORIES: GENERAL RESEARCH CHARACTERISTICS, SAMPLING AND SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS, QUESTIONNAIRE CHARACTERISTICS, AND RESEARCH PROCEDURES. THE MEAN FINAL RESPONSE RATE FOR ALL 98 STUDIES WAS 60.6 PERCENT WITH SLIGHTLY OVER 2 CONTACTS REQUIRED. THE NUMBER OF CONTACTS MADE BY THE RESEARCHER AND THE RECIPIENTS' PERCEPTION OF THE SALIENCE OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE EXPLAINED 51 PERCENT OF THE VARIANCE IN RESPONSE RATES. CONTACTS WHICH ENHANCED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE (SPECIAL DELIVERY, CERTIFIED MAIL, TELEPHONE CALLS, AND PERSONAL CONTACT) INCREASED THE RESPONSE RATES. RESPONSE RATES WERE HIGHEST FOR GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED SURVEYS. SIMILARLY, THE USE OF METERED OR FRANKED POSTAGE ON THE OUTER ENVELOPE SEEMED TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH GOVERNMENTAL OR 'OFFICIAL' RESEARCH SPONSORSHIP. LONGER SURVEY FORMS ARE PERCEIVED AS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SHORTER AND, WHEN OTHER FACTORS ARE CONTROLLED, ACTUALLY ARE ASSOCIATED WITH GREATER RESPONSE. PAYING THE RESPONDENT TO FILL OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE AND PROVIDING RETURN POSTAGE ALSO INCREASED THE RESPONSE RATE. A CAUSAL MODEL IS PRESENTED WHICH INCLUDES THESE AND OTHER FACTORS (POPULATION SURVEYED, TYPE OF QUESTIONS ASKED, PROVISIONS FOR ANONYMITY). THESE FACTORS EXPLAIN 90 PERCENT OF THE REPORTED VARIATIONS. A REGRESSION EQUATION PREDICTING FINAL RESPONSE RATES IS PRESENTED TO SHOW THAT HIGH RESPONSE LEVELS ARE ACHIEVABLE BY MANIPULATING THE COSTS OF RESPONDING AND THE PERCEIVED IMPORTANCE OF BOTH THE RESEARCH AND THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Data collections; Evaluation; Questionnaires; Research design; Research methods; Sampling; Surveys
Note: THIS IS A REVISED VERSION OF A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE RURAL SOCIOLOGICAL SOCIETY, 1977, MADISON, WISCONSIN
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