Face Fact’s Sunam Ikhlaq takes a closer look at Market Research Response Rates in this beginners guide.
It would appear that the success of a research project is heavily reliant on the response rate; this is obvious to anyone. A high response rate is not only useful to increase return on investment but also to ensure that the results are truly representative and reduce the risk of avoid bias. In order to increase response rates surely you need to look closely at the way in which the research is carried out. There are various ways to do this and you may want to include one or more methods.
Attempt to make pre-contact with the respondent prior to carrying out the research project. Whether the final research will be carried out via telephone, face-to-face or post, it is useful to contact the respondent beforehand. This can be useful in securing their involvement in the research and respondents can use this opportunity to ask questions that they may have about the research project.
Pay particular attention to the layout of the questionnaire or set of questions being asked. It is extremely beneficial to design the questions in such a way so that the respondent feels that they want to take part. Questions that are deemed to be complicated, confusing or even misleading often results in reluctance amongst respondents to take part.
The length of the questionnaire is also very important. Often respondents will gladly answer questions for a short survey. However having being promised that that survey will only last 5 minutes they may refuse to answer any further questions once the survey has continued to go over the set time.
It can be useful to send reminders to respondents to ensure that they fill in the questionnaire that they have been sent. This is often tricky and the right balance needs to be achieved between gently reminding respondents and pestering them. It may well be that they were prepared to complete the questionnaire but, having been reminded several times, they decide to no longer cooperate.
Lastly, to ensure that we receive a high response rate, it is crucial to choose a period where respondents will have time to take part. We cannot assume to know the schedule of everyone but we can, for example, avoid sending out postal questionnaires during Christmas or Easter. Respondents may simply not have the time or patience to respond. Furthermore this can slow down an entire project as survey returns can take longer to be returned and may even be lost.
By following this simple advice you can seriously enhance the response rate and deliver a successful research project.
What are your ideas on response rates? Get in touch and share your experiences.
Alternatively you can message me at Sunam@facefactsresearch.com