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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Applying theory to structure respondents' stated motivations for participating in web surveys
Year 2009
Access date 11.09.2009

Purpose – There is limited published work addressing factors that influence responses to internet surveys. This is due in part to lack of an agreed upon set of relevant theories. Albaum, Evangelista and Medina (AEM) and Evangelista et al. made a step toward filling this gap when they studied the relevance of four theories of survey response behaviour. The AEM study included a survey from a population of survey researchers. Based on their survey, they concluded that all four theories contribute to explaining survey response behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to provide an exploratory extension of AEM by using an extended set of theories in an exploratory content analysis of qualitative feedback to a large internet-based experiment.

Design/methodology/approach – An internet-based survey using an experimental design was sent to essentially the entire population of student e-mail addresses at a New Zealand university. The 12,000 questionnaires distributed included open-end questions that asked about factors related to conducting surveys over the internet, especially potential barriers to response. A total of 841 comments are collected. An extended version of the four theories identified by AEM are used to organise and summarise the feedback provided.

Findings – Cost is the most highly mentioned factor and commitment the least-mentioned factor. Overall, cost, reward, and trust are the most significant factors in survey response, leading to the conclusion that social exchange appears to the most prominent theory for internet-based surveys and commitment is the least prominent theory.

Originality/value – This is the first study to use qualitative research to assess the applicability of the major theories of survey response behaviour. In addition; the study is the first to apply these theories to internet-based surveys.


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Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeJournal article
Full text availabilityAvailable on request