sending questionnaires...

posted
19-May-10, 19:17
Avatar for billy8181
posted about 9 years ago
hi!

I'm currently about to send some questionnaires to 500 firms....but I was wondering, whats the best way to get high response rates? I managed to get a sponsor letter from an external company to put as front page and plan to use survey monkey and chase up the firms. Some say though that letters are more effective...

any ides how I can maximise the response rates (and preferably in a short period of time)?

thanks! :-(
posted
19-May-10, 20:10
by DanB
Avatar for DanB
posted about 9 years ago
Incentive - one lucky entrant will win £x worth of vouchers.

posted
19-May-10, 20:14
Avatar for billy8181
posted about 9 years ago
i'm not sure a firm's CEO would really be interested in winning a voucher....but thanks, i guess i need other incentives...(?)
posted
19-May-10, 20:28
edited about 5 seconds later
by Goodboy
Avatar for Goodboy
posted about 9 years ago
I heard about consumer surveys but this is the first time I have seen a firms survey. May be they are some kind of consumers of some services e.g. like Inland Revenue. But the question is a bit vague I suppose....Most of the firms won't give you their trade secrets.
posted
19-May-10, 20:58
Avatar for jepsonclough
posted about 9 years ago
Offer them a brief report on your findings?
posted
20-May-10, 07:53
Avatar for billy8181
posted about 9 years ago
Quote From goodboy:

I heard about consumer surveys but this is the first time I have seen a firms survey. May be they are some kind of consumers of some services e.g. like Inland Revenue. But the question is a bit vague I suppose....Most of the firms won't give you their trade secrets.


It's very common for phds in business to do surveys , it's looking for behaviours characteristics of the firm itself, choices made, etc.
Nothing too secret, and it goes through an ethics approval.
What is critical is to get managers to bother filling it in, not to get their secrets.

That's the tricky part...
posted
20-May-10, 08:29
edited about 3 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 9 years ago
I do cross-org surveys. Be careful with incentives, it can backfire, and you can get people filling it in just to be entered into the draw (make sure you word it carefully too, so its a draw, not that you owe every participant £100!). If using survey monkey you can program it so people can only complete it once - although if using an incentive, it is likely that the one time they fill it out, they will spin through it clicking anything just to be entered. Instead you can try incentivised snowballing i.e. so they get put into a draw if they pass the questionnaire on to 3 other people. I've never done this, but apparently it can be better than just pure incentives

The best way is to get buy-in from a key person in the organisation, but this can take months and depending on what your survey is on, they may be wary of it - i.e. they may not want their managers going on record saying they don't enjoy their work for example.

Emphasise confidentiality and let them know you will let them have first see of any report published - you will probably have to agree that you won't use the names of the organisations. You will also have to be really clear on confidentiality of the participants. There will also be organisational policies and your universty ethics policies on providing incentives. - my organisation didn't let me.

I would also check out facebook, a lot of companies have facebook groups now, or linkedin - you maybe can target people through that.
posted
20-May-10, 12:47
by Bonzo
Avatar for Bonzo
posted about 9 years ago
In the same boat and hoping to sort out something of an incentive.
Maybe if you made a presentation at the local Enterprise Boards (or equivalent!), you will get a few in one go. Check locally if there are groups representing the firms you wish to survey, get a presentation as to the benefits of finding out your information and also make yourself available to deal with any questions in relation to your work (if you do, your expertise will provide referrals).

I am hoping to use a combination of
a. Some draw for something practical (a token for Curry's/PC World)
b. A report of findings with why the research I am looking at will be beneficial (looking at software and a lot of it free, so might be of use to a few). Include it with your letter.
c. Maybe you have a skill/qualification and would be prepared to go to some individual firms for an hour or so (or organise a one-off forum event and then hand out your survey).

One person who did similar research in my dept. said how she got the best results was actually deliver the survey in person and arrange a collection time (even a small meeting and help to get the survey done). I suppose you could leave that til the end, but I am resigned to actually doing most of mine thro' door-to -door in the industrial estates.
posted
20-May-10, 15:31
by Goodboy
Avatar for Goodboy
posted about 9 years ago
Billy! Thanks, In my view you will have a great chance by telling them straight away that It is towards your PhD and their help is kindly appreciated. You can offer them an incentive of 'getting them acknowledged in the publication' that you will produce as a result and the top answer/help from a manager will earn a reward as a 'co-author' on the front page of a publication. I will not of course break my promise and will start working on that kind of publication as well.
posted
20-May-10, 16:27
edited about 22 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 9 years ago
personally I wouldn't offer co-author unless you know them very well. Just offer them a report (2 sides a4 MAX) and offer to do a presentation to key stakeholders about the results. Anonymise the organisations in the final academic publication and then you don't owe them anything - otherwise you will find your study being twisted for their gains, or your publication being ripped apart with censorship
posted
21-May-10, 11:11
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for billy8181
posted about 9 years ago
thanks for the replies!

I'm not sure about co-authoring either to be honest...

what about electronic vs postal surveys? has anyone tried both or either?

I hear varied opinions on which is better, keeping in mind I can't give 500 questionnaires door to door........but can make phone calls etc.
posted
21-May-10, 11:18
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 21 May 2010 11:19:00 =======
I used surveymonkey, which is very good - sometimes there are issues with it on organisations firewalls though - so you need a word.doc version i.e. a word form, so they can complete and email back to you if they can't work it BUT this needs special ethical approval, because you can technically link the email address with the response PLUS bosses often have permission to scan employee emails and will therefore, technically have access to the responses too.

I'd say start out with an online version - its easy for snowballing. And then scoop up people with a paper one if you response rates are poor.

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