Improving web survey efficiency: The impact of an extra reminder and reminder content on web survey response

Christof Van Mol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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With the growing possibilities for conducting web surveys, researchers increasingly use such surveys to recruit student samples for research purposes in a wide array of social science disciplines. Simultaneously, higher education students are recurrently asked to complete course and teacher evaluations online and to participate in small-scale research projects of fellow students, potentially leading to survey fatigue among student populations across the globe. One of the most frequently reported effects of over-surveying is a decrease in overall response rates. This situation has significant impacts on the generalizability and external validity of findings based on web surveys. The collection of reliable data is, nevertheless, crucial for researchers as well as educational practitioners and administrators, and strategies should be developed for achieving acceptable response rates. This paper reports on a methodological experiment (N = 15,651) conducted at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in which possible strategies to improve survey response are explored. I specifically focus on the impact of an extra reminder as well as specific reminder contents on response rates. The results reveal that extra reminders are effective for increasing response rates, but not for diversifying the sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-327
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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