Article

Incentivizing Survey Response: How Incentive Timing, Response Mode Choice, and Urbanicity Affect Survey Response

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Abstract

Surveys and questionnaires are common tools used in construction and engineering project organization research, though there is a dearth of literature on how to best conduct surveys of issues related to these topics. In this paper, we analyzed how three factors—choice of response mode, incentive timing, and urbanicity—affect response rate, response speed, and degree of survey completion. The survey design used postal contact to solicit participation in a web survey of the general public in Oklahoma and Colorado regarding oil and gas development and hazards. We found that offering a choice of two response modes (web response or mailed paper response) had no significant effect on response rate, response speed, or the degree of survey completion compared to those only offered the web response option. We also found that the timing of a guaranteed incentive (i.e. receiving a monetary incentive in the initial contact versus in the first follow-up) did not significantly affect response rate or the degree of survey completion but did result in a faster response time. Urbanicity of a target community significantly affected all three measures: urban communities exhibited a higher response rate, quicker response speed, and a greater degree of survey completion as compared to rural households, regardless of mode choice or the timing of the incentive. Findings will help inform researchers who employ household surveys how survey design choices impact public response.

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