Advertisement

TechTrends

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 330–335 | Cite as

Effects of Personalization and Invitation Email Length on Web-Based Survey Response Rates

  • Jesús H. Trespalacios
  • Ross A. PerkinsEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Individual strategies to increase response rate and survey completion have been extensively researched. Recently, efforts have been made to investigate a combination of interventions to yield better response rates for web-based surveys. This study examined the effects of four different survey invitation conditions on response rate. From a large metropolitan university in the West, a group of 1,598 selected students were randomly assigned to four groups, each of which received a different version of the invitation email to participate in a survey of campus technology needs. Findings show that neither the degree of personalization nor the length of the invitation email impacted survey response or completion. Additionally, the outcomes demonstrated the impact of research-based “best practices” and their impact on overall response rate.

Keywords

Survey research Email personalization Message length Response rates 

References

  1. Archer, T. M. (2008). Response rates to expect from web-based surveys and what to do about it. Journal of Extension, 46(3). Retrieved from http://www.joe.org/joe/2008june/rb3.php.
  2. Baruch, Y., & Brooks, C. H. (2008). Survey response rate levels and trends in organizational research. Human Relations, 61, 1139–1160. doi: 10.1177/0018726708094863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bosnjak, M., & Tuten, T. L. (2003). Prepaid and promised incentives in web surveys: an experiment. Social Science Computer Review, 21, 208–217. doi: 10.1177/0894439303021002006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burkell, J. (2003). The dilemma of survey nonresponse. Library and Information Science Research, 25(3), 239–263. doi: 10.1016/S0740-8188(03)00029-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Church, A. H. (1993). Estimating the effect of incentives on mail survey response rates: a meta-analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly, 57(1), 62–79. doi: 10.1086/269355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook, C., Heath, F., & Thompson, R. L. (2000). A meta-analysis of response rates in web- or internet-based surveys. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60(6), 821–836. doi: 10.1177/00131640021970934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dillman, D. A. (2007). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method (2nd ed.). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  8. Doucheneaut, N., & Bellotti, V. (2001). Email as habitat: an exploration of embedded personal information management. Interactions, 8(5), 30–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fan, W., & Zheng, Y. (2010). Factors affecting response rates of the web survey: a systematic review. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(2), 132–139. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2009.10.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Heerwegh, D. (2005). Effects of personal salutations in e-mail invitations to participate in a web survey. Public Opinion Quarterly, 69(4), 588–598. doi: 10.1093/poq/nfi053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heerwegh, D. (2006). An investigation of the effect of lotteries on web survey response rates. Field Methods, 18(2), 205–220. doi: 10.1177/1525822X05285781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heerwegh, D., Vanhove, T., Matthijs, K., & Loosveldt, G. (2005). The effect of personalization on response rates and data quality in web surveys. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(2), 85–99. doi: 10.1080/1364557042000203107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Joinson, A. N., & Reips, U.-D. (2007). Personalized salutation, power of sender, and response rates to web-based surveys. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(3), 1372–1383. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2004.12.011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Joinson, A. N., Woodley, A., & Reips, U.-D. (2007). Personalization, authentication and self-disclosure in self-administered internet surveys. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(1), 275–285. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2004.10.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Klofstad, C. A., Boulianne, S., & Basson, D. (2008). Matching the message to the medium. Social Science Computer Review, 26(4), 498–509. doi: 10.1177/0894439308314145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kypros, K., Gallagher, S. J., & Cashell-Smith, M. L. (2004). An internet-based survey method for college drinking research. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 76(1), 45–53. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2004.04.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Marcus, B., Bosnjak, M., Lindner, S., Pilischenko, S., & Shütz, A. (2007). Compensating for low topic interest and long surveys. Social Science Computer Review, 25(3), 372–383. doi: 10.1177/0894439307297606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pearson, J. & Levine, R.A. (2003). Salutations and response rates to online surveys. Paper presented at the Association for Survey Computing Fourth International Conference on the Impact of Technology on the Survey Process, University of Warwick, England.Google Scholar
  19. Perkins, R.A. (2011). Using research‐based practices to increase response rates of web‐based surveys. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 32(2). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/eq.
  20. Porter, S. R. (2004). Raising response rates: what works? New Directions for Institutional Research, 121, 5–21. doi: 10.1002/ir.97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Porter, S. R., & Whitcomb, M. E. (2003a). The impact of contact type on web survey response rates. Public Opinion Quarterly, 67(4), 579–588. doi: 10.1086/378964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Porter, S. R., & Whitcomb, M. E. (2003b). The impact of lottery incentives on student survey response rates. Research in Higher Education, 44(4), 389–407. doi: 10.1023/A:1024263031800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Porter, S. R., & Whitcomb, M. E. (2005). Email subject lines and their effect on web survey viewing and response. Social Science Computer Review, 23(3), 380–387. doi: 10.1177/0894439305275912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rettie, R. & Chittenden, L. (2003). Email marketing: Success factors. Occasional Paper Series No 50. U.K.: Kingston Business School, Kingston University.Google Scholar
  25. Trouteaud, A. R. (2004). How you ask counts: a test of internet-related components of response rates to a web-based survey. Social Science Computer Review, 22(3), 385–392. doi: 10.1177/0894439304265650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tuten, T. L. (1997). Getting a foot in the electronic door: Understanding why people read or delete electronic mail (Rep. No. 97/08). Mannheim: Zentrum fuer Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational TechnologyBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

Personalised recommendations