• Presentation

Combined Strategies to Increase Early Response Rates


Cominole, M. B., Franklin, J. W., & Siegel, P. H. (2008, May). Combined Strategies to Increase Early Response Rates. Presented at AAPOR 2008, New Orleans, LA.


Much research about survey response has focused on the impact of procedures and materials used in contacting sample members, including the timing and number of contacts made and the presentation of materials. The packaging or presentation of information sent to sample members also seems to be important to increasing survey response (Dillman 2000). In particular, the method of mail delivery has been found to be an important factor. For instance, Abreu and Winters (1999) found that Priority Mail was effective when used as a method to increase response rates among nonrespondent cases. Research has also shown that additional contacts with sample members increase the likelihood of participation (Moore and Dillman 1980). Prompting calls made by project staff to sample members reminding them to participate, are likely effective because they provide another reminder about a study and give interview staff an additional opportunity to provide the information needed to participate.An experiment was included in a national sample of about 3,000 students in all levels of postsecondary education to evaluate the impact of combined strategies to increase response rates – both the presentation of study materials and follow-up prompting. This experiment was conducted during the study’s early response period, during which sample members were asked to complete a self-administered web interview. The first component examined whether the use of Priority Mail to send study materials produced a higher response rate in the early response period than First-Class Mail. The other test examined the effect of prompting calls made about halfway through the early response period to remind sample members about the study and assist with login information if needed. Results showed that, independently, both Priority Mail and prompting calls were associated with higher early response rates, but that response rates were highest among the group that received both treatments.