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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Effects of Progress Indicators on Short Questionnaires
Year 2012
Access date 28.06.2012

Perhaps more than paper or telephone modes, online surveys face significant data quality concerns due to breakoffs. Online surveys that are time-consuming or cognitively demanding can be closed with a simple mouse click. And more broadly, the context of Internet usage may involve more distraction and competition for respondents’ time and attention to complete surveys, compared to phone and paper surveys. There have been dozens of studies on the impact of progress indicators on breakoff rates, with a metaanalysis showing inconsistent effects across comparable studies for constant rate progress bar indicators (Callegaro, Yang & Villar, AAPOR 2011) . However, most progress bar experimentation has been conducted on long questionnaires (>10 minutes median completion time). Drop-off on shorter online surveys is still a concern, and the impact of progress bars on these surveys is largely unknown. Furthermore, the horizontal width of a progress bar could impact its effect, which has yet to be examined. We use a split-ballot experiment on a short online survey (median response time <3 minutes) to evaluate the impact of using progress bars of two widths (wide and narrow) compared to a control group without a progress bar. We compare breakoff rates, item & unit nonresponse, and response time to provide initial experimental evidence to understand the effects of progress indicators on short questionnaires and a potential relationship with the width of the progress bar. Our hypothesis is that, keeping everything constant, the wider progress bar should produce lower break offs than the narrow one because respondents can more easily see the movement of the bar. We also hypothesize that for short surveys the progress bar will reduce break offs in comparison to not showing the bar. Data are currently being collected for this experiment, in a tracking survey of online product users’ attitudes.

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Year of publication2012
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations

Web survey bibliography - Callegaro, M. (41)