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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Do cash incentives helps with RDD studies? Examination of results from a national and a statewide survey
Year 2009
Access date 22.11.2009

With the ever increasing difficulty of conducting RDD interviews in the United States, it was desired to evaluate the effectiveness of offering cash incentives to participants. Incentives historically have had some success (but the success of these incentives is highly dependent upon the population, type of incentive (cash versus lottery or other gifts), timing of the incentive (pre or post data collection) and mode of data collection). Results of offering cash incentives in two omnibus RDD studies; one national and one at the state level only, were examined to determine the impact of incentives on response rates, cooperation rates, demographic characteristics of respondents, and actual responses to substantive questions. In addition to offering incentives to participants, the state

‐wide study also offered incentives to the interviewers. It was hypothesized that offering incentives to interviewers would have a positive impact on overall response rates, cooperation rates, and quality of data. Both studies were designed as randomized control trials. The national study used an RDD sample, and the sample was randomly assigned an incentive or non‐incentive status (with approximately half the sample being assigned an incentive status and the other half being assigned a non‐incentive status). If flagged for an incentive, the potential respondent was offered a $10 incentive upon completion of the interview. A check in the amount of $10 was mailed to the respondent post completion of the interview. If not flagged for an incentive, no incentive was offered to the participant. The state‐wide survey was slightly more complicated in that there were two levels of incentives offered. The first level of incentive was similar to the national study, offering an incentive to participants. The RDD sample was again randomly assigned an incentive or non‐incentive status (with approximately half the sample assigned an incentive status and the other half not). Again, if flagged for an incentive, participants were offered $10 cash after completing the survey. If not flagged for an incentive, no incentive was offered. The second level of incentive was offered to the interviewers. A $10 cash incentive was offered to interviewers every odd week of the data collection period for each interview they successfully complete above and beyond their minimal required productivity targets. Interviewers were required to maintain a minimum productivity pace regardless of being offered an incentive or not. This minimum productivity criteria included completing a minimum number of interviews per hour, maintaining the average expected number of refusals per hour, maintaining the required dialing pace, abiding by the facility attendance requirements , and maintaining high data collection quality standards. These criteria were held constant so as to permit the evaluation of the introduction of an incentive on improving response rates by interviewers. This state‐wide study was essentially a two by two randomized control trial with four possible “incentive” groups: 1) respondent incentive only, 2) interviewer incentive only, 3) respondent and interviewer incentive, and 4) no incentive at all. Overall, the findings were somewhat surprising and proved to improve response rates and cooperation rates among certain demographic groups only, with no effect on other groups. There were slight improved overall response rates for those age 34 and under (and in particular those aged 24 or younger). Those aged 24 and younger are the most difficult populations to reach now by telephone (mainly due to the increase use of cell phone only use). Interestingly, the impact on interviewer performance was negligible. Based on the findings of these two experiments, offering incentives only to certain demographic groups (the younger age groups) may be the best use of cash incentives.

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Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityAvailable on request