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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Are Tailored Outreach Efforts Too Costly? An Assessment of a Responsive Design Approach to Control Costs and Nonresponse Bias
Year 2015
Access date 02.07.2015

Responsive design approaches to data collection are increasingly common within the survey research community, as they afford planned opportunities to modify aspects of the study design to reduce total survey error and control costs through analysis of paradata (Heeringa and Groves, 2006). Researchers are able identify characteristics of unresponsive sample, apply less passive modes of data collection, and tailor outreach methods that are more appealing to them. Researchers are also able to shift resources away from the more responsive categories to focus on sample members more resistant to completing. This practices raises important questions related to how the increased focus on unresponsive sample categories affects overall response rates and cost to complete ratios. For example, does a tailored approach to specific sample categories lead to an increase in response and, thereby reduce nonresponse bias; if so, does that increase come at a response rate decline in other categories; or raise the overall cost per complete ratio so significantly that the benefits of this approach are not worthwhile? These questions form the bases of our case study and proposed poster. Using paradata from a single mix-mode data collection effort of urban, low- income, high-school students and recent high-school graduates (Web-Telephone-In-person follow-up), we demonstrate how a responsive design approach helped control costs, extend data collection, and reach response rate targets while staying within budget with a particularly hard-to-reach population. Design modifications included adjusting our outreach to accommodate the contact information we received, incentive increases, on -campus completion sessions, individualized mailings, and accessing alumni events. Initial results indicate that shifting efforts toward unresponsive sample categories did raise the response rate in those categories without negatively impacting other categories. Although the cost per complete ratio did increase for unresponsive sample categories, shifting resources created cost savings that enabled an extension of the field effort overall.


Year of publication2015
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations