Survey return rate as a function of personalization of cover letters and monetary incentives
Many studies have been conducted in an attempt to increase the return rate of mail surveys. A variety of techniques have been used, including varying the type of cover letter, varying styles of postage, and sending follow-up letters (Dodd & Boswell, 1988; Elkind, Tryon, & DeVito, 1986; Kephart & Bressler, 1958). Most techniques have had no consistent effect on the rate of return. The only studies which have conclusively raised the return rates of mail surveys are those which included a monetary incentive (Armstrong, 1975; Wortruba, 1966). The following study attempted to increase survey return rates through the use of personalization of survey cover letters and monetary incentives. Five hundred twenty-two surveys were sent to Psychology graduates from a medium-sized university to gain information on their opinions about the undergraduate Psychology program. Although personalization of cover letters did not affect the return rate, including a monetary incentive did. The group receiving no money had a return rate of 23%, those receiving 25 cents had a return rate of 32%, and the group that received $1.00 had a return rate of 47%. The increased return rates were statistically significant, with 25 cents bringing more returns than no money, and $1.00 encouraging returns more than 25 cents. Because of the high costs of including a monetary incentive, it can be determined that the cost effectiveness depends on the desired rate of survey returns.
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Abbott, David W.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Williams, Andrea Y., "Survey return rate as a function of personalization of cover letters and monetary incentives" (1990). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 4095.