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Web Survey Bibliography

Title A meta-analysis of experiments manipulating progress indicators in Web surveys
Year 2011
Access date 26.04.2013
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A proportion of respondents who start answer online surveys do not complete the survey. Drop-off rates could be of concern if those who do not finish the survey are systematically different from those who complete the survey. Hence, researchers have tried to implement strategies that reduce the likelihood that a respondent will prematurely abandon the survey process. One of these strategies is the inclusion of progress indicators in the survey. However, there is no consensus in the literature regarding its effect on survey drop-off rates. In this meta-analysis we analyzed 20+ randomized experiments that compared drop-off rates of an experimental group who completed an online survey where a progress bar was shown, to drop-off rates of a control group to whom the progress bar was not shown. In all the studies drop-offs were defined as any respondent who did not fully complete the survey. Three types of bars were analyzed that differ in terms of their pace throughout the survey: a) linear or constant, b) fast first then slow, and c) slow first then fast. Random effects analysis was used to compute odds ratios (OR) for each study. Because the dependent variable was drop-off rate, an OR greater than 1 indicates that the progress bar group had a higher dropoff rate while an OR lower than 1 indicates that the progress bar group had a lower drop-off rate. Preliminary results suggest that, contrary to widespread expectations, the progress indicator does not help reduce drop-off rates. Both the constant and slow-to-fast progress bar are in fact increasing the chances of drop-off in comparison to no progress bar. To our knowledge this is the first meta-analysis study on the topic. Additional literature search will be performed and we are awaiting from some authors to send us data to add to the study.

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Year of publication2011
Bibliographic typeConference proceedings

Web survey bibliography (8390)