Should the third reminder be sent? The role of survey response timing on web survey results

Decreasing survey response rates are a growing concern as survey estimates may be biased by selective non-response.

Should the third reminder be sent? The role of survey response timing on web survey results

Kumar Rao

The Nielsen Company

Julia Pennington

University of Tampa

Introduction

Non-participation in surveys is a major concern of survey researchers worldwide (Billiet . 2007). Ideally, researchers would like all survey invitees to respond, thereby achieving a 100% response rate. This goal, however, for all practical purposes, is impossible to achieve. Survey researchers expend considerable effort and resources to survey reluctant or hard-to-reach respondents so that non-response bias is minimised and the collected data are representative of the underlying population of interest. One such effort involves sending reminders, such as emails or postcards, to non-respondents in order to elicit a response. While some survey invitees respond with minimal survey effort (responding before the first reminder is sent), others respond only with a subsequent increase in efforts (requiring more than one reminder) or choose to not respond at all. The , which is the point in time after the survey launch when the response is received before or after one or more reminders, is the focus of research in this study.