Notice: the WebSM website has not been updated since the beginning of 2018.

Web Survey Bibliography

Title Implications of disposition codes for monitoring breakoffs in web surveys
Year 2017
Access date 14.04.2017

Relevance & Research Question: Respondents quitting surveys prematurely (breakoffs) require special attention in web surveys because they occur more often there than in interviewer-administered questionnaires. In addition, the collection of paradata in web surveys enables a more precise measurement of breakoffs. In our study, we compare: 1) introduction breakoffs (occurring at the start of a questionnaire) vs. 2) questionnaire breakoffs (occurring at some later point in the questionnaire) and define them as separate types. We provide a conceptual framework that relates both breakoff types to the AAPOR Final Disposition Codes for Internet Surveys, and propose monitoring breakoffs in web surveys in greater detail. We discuss the practical applications of this approach in a metastudy of 7,676 web surveys.

Methods & Data: Our sample is based on approximately 1,250,000 responses to 7,676 web surveys, which were conducted from 2009 to 2014 using the 1KA open source survey software. To analyse the impact of survey characteristics and email invitations on introduction breakoffs vs. questionnaire breakoffs (dependent variables), we used linear regression models with the number of pages and items in the questionnaire, as well as whether the survey was disseminated using the survey software’s email invitation system as predictors.

Results: Our empirical study shows that questionnaire length only impacts questionnaire breakoffs, and that email invitations only impact introduction breakoffs. We can on average expect the questionnaire breakoff rate to increase by 0.07 of a percentage point for each additional item in the questionnaire, or by 0.17 of a percentage point for each additional page. The introduction breakoff rate is on average expected to decrease by 16.6 percentage points if the survey software’s email invitations are used. The sample’s mean total breakoff rate is 43%, where the introduction breakoff strongly dominates (about three-quarters of all breakoffs).

Added Value: Separately defining introduction vs. questionnaire breakoff allows for a more accurate analysis of related causes because fundamentally different factors contribute to each type. This holds practical importance for survey methodology, especially in terms of breakoff prevention methods and accurately reporting on various missing data and data quality aspects.

Year of publication2017
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations

Web survey bibliography - Slovenia (127)