• Presentation

Developing a Contact Strategy to Maximize Self-Administered Web Participation


Franklin, J. W., Simpson, J. B., Wine, J. S., & Paoli, N. R. (2007, May). Developing a Contact Strategy to Maximize Self-Administered Web Participation. Presented at American Association for Public Opinion Research Conference, Anaheim, CA.


The continued growth of the internet is having an extraordinary effect on survey research. Data collection designs that include self-administered web interviewing allow studies to capitalize on the reduced time and costs associated with collecting data over the web. To take full advantage of these benefits, researchers must continue to identify and evaluate contacting strategies that encourage sample members’ participation via the web. The Beginning Postsecondary Students longitudinal study (BPS), a follow-up study of over 23,000 students who started their postsecondary education during the 2003/04 academic year, is one such study that has attempted to identify what contact methods are most effective in encouraging self-administered web participation. BPS’s contact approach followed Dillman’s widely accepted Tailored Design mailing strategy by including pre-contacts, initial lead letters, postcard reminders and additional follow-up contacts sent via priority mailing. BPS also sent emails to contacts when possible to encourage self-administered web participation. Each contact attempt included the study website and a unique study id and password needed to access the self-administered web interview. However, within each password, an identifier was embedded to enable the source of the password to be linked to the corresponding contact attempt and the related method of delivery. This allowed the project to test the theory that email contacts would prove to be the most successful contact method.This presentation will focus on the study’s overall contacting strategy, including the timing and mode of each contact, and the results of the post hoc analyses used to evaluate each contact attempt. The presentation will also explore the pattern of response of the almost 10,000 completed self-administered web interviews to identify which contacts and modes of contact provided the more immediate response versus those that yielded a more methodical response.