CitationGriggs, Ashley K.; Powell, Rebecca J.; Keeney, Jennifer; Waggy, Megan; Harris, Kathleen Mullan; Halpern, Carolyn T.; & Dean, Sarah (2019). Research note: A prenotice greeting cards impact on response rates and response time. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies. vol. 10 (4) pp. 421-432
AbstractMaintaining high response rates over time is critical for the integrity of longitudinal studies. A best practice for encouraging survey participation in cross-sectional studies is to send sample members a pre-incentive with the survey invitation. However, in longitudinal studies this may change sample members’ future expectations of incentives. Instead researchers can use a prenotice to remind longitudinal sample members of the study and inform them of the upcoming wave. A unique greeting card format for a prenotice was experimentally tested against a $10 pre-incentive in the longitudinal study Add Health. The prenotice card, which thanked sample members for their ongoing contributions to the study over the last 20-plus years, significantly increased response rates and decreased survey response times over the 12-month course of data collection compared to the control. At the end of data collection, the prenotice card was equally effective as a $10 pre-incentive. However, in the first month of data collection, the combination of the prenotice card and pre-incentive was the most effective approach, suggesting that the best approach may depend on the planned duration of data collection. Additionally, sample members who did not participate in a previous wave had higher response rates this wave with the pre-incentive compared to the control. The findings suggest that long-term longitudinal study participants may evaluate researchers’ gratitude as a type of benefit on par with monetary incentives, offering researchers opportunities to reduce incentive costs, but this may differ based on previous wave participation.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleLongitudinal and Life Course Studies
Author(s)Griggs, Ashley K.
Powell, Rebecca J.
Harris, Kathleen Mullan
Halpern, Carolyn T.