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Increasing web survey response rates in innovation research: An experimental study of static and dynamic contact design features

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  • Sauermann, Henry
  • Roach, Michael

Abstract

Web surveys have become increasingly central to innovation research but often suffer from low response rates. Based on a cost–benefits framework and the explicit consideration of heterogeneity across respondents, we consider the effects of key contact design features such as personalization, incentives, and the exact timing of survey contacts on web survey response rates. We also consider the benefits of a “dynamic strategy”, i.e., the approach to change features of survey contacts over the survey life cycle. We explore these effects experimentally using a career survey sent to over 24,000 junior scientists and engineers. The results show that personalization increases the odds of responding by as much as 48%, while lottery incentives with a high payoff and a low chance of winning increase the odds of responding by 30%. Furthermore, changing the wording of reminders over the survey life cycle increases the odds of a response by over 30%, while changes in contact timing (day of the week or hour of the day) did not have significant benefits. Improvements in response rates did not come at the expense of lower data quality. Our results provide novel insights into web survey response behavior and suggest useful tools for innovation researchers seeking to increase survey participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sauermann, Henry & Roach, Michael, 2013. "Increasing web survey response rates in innovation research: An experimental study of static and dynamic contact design features," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 273-286.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:273-286
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.05.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Janti Gunawan & Kym Fraser, 2016. "Exploring young and green entrepreneurship in Indonesia: An introduction," Journal of Asian Business Strategy, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 6(9), pages 185-194, September.
    2. Stéphane Lhuillery & Julio Raffo & Intan Hamdan-Livramento, 2016. "Measuring creativity: Learning from innovation measurement," WIPO Economic Research Working Papers 31, World Intellectual Property Organization - Economics and Statistics Division.
    3. Sauermann, Henry & Roach, Michael, 2014. "Not all scientists pay to be scientists: PhDs’ preferences for publishing in industrial employment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 32-47.
    4. Ashok, Mona & Narula, Rajneesh & Martinez-Noya, Andrea, 2016. "How do collaboration and investments in knowledge management affect process innovation in services?," MERIT Working Papers 039, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:6:p:1071-1086 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lafrenière, Darquise & Hurlimann, Thierry & Menuz, Vincent & Godard, Béatrice, 2014. "Evaluation of a cartoon-based knowledge dissemination intervention on scientific and ethical challenges raised by nutrigenomics/nutrigenetics research," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 103-114.
    7. repec:eee:ecoser:v:26:y:2017:i:pb:p:445-450 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Feser, Daniel & Bizer, Kilian & Rudolph-Cleff, Annette & Schulze, Joachim, 2016. "Energy audits in a private firm environment: Energy efficiency consultants' cost calculation for innovative technologies in the housing sector," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 275, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    9. Franzoni, Chiara & Scellato, Giuseppe & Stephan, Paula, 2014. "The mover’s advantage: The superior performance of migrant scientists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 89-93.
    10. Mona Ashok & Rajneesh Narula & Andrea Martinez-Noya, 2014. "End-User Collaboration for Process Innovation in Services: The Role of Internal Resources," John H Dunning Centre for International Business Discussion Papers jhd-dp2014-03, Henley Business School, Reading University.

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