An experimental study on the impact of contact design on web survey participation

Angelica Maineri, Christof Van Mol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


In higher education institutions, web surveys are frequently used for educational, research, and administrative purposes. One of the consequences of this is increasing oversurveying of higher education students, leading to low response rates. This naturally has important implications for the validity of web survey results. Consequently, we set up a methodological experiment at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, whereby the total student population was invited to participate in a web survey in order to investigate which features of contact design can positively influence web survey participation. We particularly focus on subject line content, the communication of deadlines and their timing, as well as the delays between contact moments. The results reveal that students were more likely to respond to a web survey invitation when the subject line is written in the national language in multilingual contexts. Furthermore, although the findings did not indicate an advantage of using a deadline, they also suggested that if a deadline is to be used, a longer deadline might be more beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number08944393211003482
Pages (from-to)1203-1222
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • deadlines
  • experimental design
  • online surveys
  • reminders
  • survey fatigue
  • web survey participation
  • web surveys


Dive into the research topics of 'An experimental study on the impact of contact design on web survey participation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this