Quality & Quantity

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1053–1065 | Cite as

The effect of the elapsed time between the initial refusal and conversion contact on conversion success: evidence from the 2nd round of the European social survey

  • Koen BeullensEmail author
  • Jaak Billiet
  • Geert Loosveldt


The hold period between the initial refusal and the follow-up conversion attempt may be used as a strategic tool to improve conversion rates. We argue that longer hold periods result in better conversion rates, particularly among hard-to-convert refusals. In this article we will first investigate to what extend and in which manner survey authorities exert this elapsed time as an active survey instrument. Contact sheet data show that different national survey coordinators deploy different strategies with regard to this hold period. In the Netherlands, intentional survey tactics can be disentangled, whereas Swiss contact data show that the length of the hold period is a mere result other fieldwork conditions. Actual conversion success seems to be consistently dependent upon the hold period between the initial refusal and the follow-up contact.


Refusal conversion Elapsed time Hold period European Social Survey Contact sheet data Survey nonresponse Fieldwork strategy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Sociological ResearchKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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