Notice: the WebSM website has not been updated since the beginning of 2018.

Web Survey Bibliography

Title Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Effects of Progress Indicators, Promised Duration, and Questinnaire Length on Completing Web Surveys
Year 2007
Access date 23.05.2007
Abstract

In most web questionnaires, respondents see only one page at a time and so are unable to determine how much of the task remains. As a result, many researchers include "progress indicators" in web questionnaires - for example, graphical bars that grow as more questions are completed or textual messages like "completed." The rationale is that if respondents know how much remains they will be more likely to complete the task. Previous research (e.g. Conrad, Couper, Tourangeau & Peytchev, 2005; Heerwegh & Loosveldt, 2006] has shown that progress indicators often do not increase completion rates and sometimes even hurt, but in some circumstances they do help. In particular, when the feedback is encouraging, i.e. progress is rapid, respondents are more likely to complete the task. Our hypothesis in the current experiment is that feedback is not by itself encouraging or discouraging but depends on how long respondents believe the task will take and on how long it actually takes. We explore this by varying three factors in a web questionnaire (n= 2931): the promised duration of the task, the length of the questionnaire, and whether or not o progress indicator is displayed. The presence of a progress indicator led to fewer break offs when the questionnaire was short but increased break offs when it was long. The size of this effect depended on respondents' expectations: when load the task would be brief and in fact if was brief, fewer respondents broke-off when there was a progress indicator than when there was not; however, when they expected the questionnaire to be lengthy and this was borne out, the presence of o progress indicator increased break-offs, We discuss how all three factors interact in influencing respondents' question-by-question decisions to continue the survey or to break off.

Access/Direct link

Conference homepage

Year of publication2007
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityAvailable on request
Print

Web survey bibliography - The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) 62th Annual Conference, 2007 (48)