Using email questionnaires for research: Good practice in tackling non-response
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The use of email as an alternative to mail for collecting data provides new opportunities for researchers worldwide. While researchers have extensively focused on identifying the advantages and disadvantages of online surveys, empirical evidence on response rates to email questionnaires remains scarce. A number of factors have been cited to explain this, including lack of anonymity and incentives. As response rates tend to vary in different contexts, additional empirical evidence is needed to demonstrate how improvements in such rates can be achieved in the context of specific research. This will assist researchers in designing email surveys that meet the designated research objectives and achieve adequate response. This paper describes the use of an email questionnaire to collect data for a consumer study. It explores how non-response can be tackled by selecting an appropriate sampling frame, through the choice of questionnaire type, by using incentives and by ensuring anonymity. The paper concludes by offering a five-point good practice checklist for researchers involved in designing online surveys.