Mail Survey Reminder is known to be effective in increasing response rates for mail surveys. Many studies have shown that an important factor in survey success is the number of contacts made throughout the data collection project. (Dillman, 1978; Lavrakas, 1993; Willimack et al., 1995). The “Total Design Method” (TDM) of Dillman(1978) for data collection includes a strategy using reminders for a more successful survey project. This strategy involves:
- Use of a 6 x 9” envelope to send the questionnaire, introductory letter, and stamped addressed return envelope.
- After one week, send a postcard to remind the unresponsive participants about the importance of their involvement.
- After two weeks, send a reminder note and a questionnaire copy to the remaining unresponsive participants.
- After 3 weeks or 7 weeks from the time the questionnaire was sent, send the questionnaire again together with a reminder through a registered letter to emphasize the survey’s importance.
For completely anonymous surveys, there is no way to track non-responders- the survey reminders and questionnaire copies must be sent to all. Obviously, it is costlier to send reminders; however, depending on the sensitivity of the data you are collecting, anonymity might significantly influence your response rate. In such cases, it is best to do a cost-efficiency analysis.
Below is a sample of how you write a reminder for an anonymous survey:
According to Don Dillman, reminders are an effective method to increase insistence on non-responders. This increased insistence is through a repeated try and priority mailing, not by changing the letter’s tone. A Final Contact Letter should include:
- Date of the letter
- Address of the researcher
- Advise that the researcher has not heard from the participant
- Advise that other participants have responded, followed by a glimpse of the result
- The reason why the participant’s reply would be useful
- Identification of the eligibility of the participant
- Explanation of the confidentiality of the survey
- Advise that the survey is voluntary
- Real Signature of the researcher or person of authority implementing the survey
Below is a sample of a Final Contact Letter to be sent by priority mail:
For more information on mail surveys and data collection in general, contact DataForce!