This article reports a meta-analysis of 45 studies that explicitly compare the response obtained using a mail, telephone or face-to-face survey. The data analysis uses a generalized hierarchical linear model. Sampling procedure (e.g., local convenience sample, random general sample), saliency of topic, and research organization (university, government versus market research) had an effect on the response. On the average, the face-to-face condition achieved the highest completion rate (70.3%), the telephone survey the next highest (67.2%), and the mail survey the lowest (61.3%). There is a significant interaction with the year of publication: The response to face-to-face and telephone surveys is going down in the period covered by this analysis (1947 to 1992), but the response to mail surveys is going up slightly. We attribute this to the large amount of research on nonresponse problems with mail surveys, and recommend more research and development in this direction for face-to-face and telephone methods.
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Hox, J.J., De Leeuw, E.D. A comparison of nonresponse in mail, telephone, and face-to-face surveys. Qual Quant 28, 329–344 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01097014