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Crawford, S.D., Mick P. Couper, and M.J. Lamias. 2001. "Web Surveys - Perceptions of Burden." Social Science Computer Review, 19(2): 146-162.
Web surveys appear to be attaining lower response rates than equivalent mail surveys. One reason may be that there is currently little information on effective strategies for increasing response to Internet-based surveys. Web users are becoming more impatient with high-burden Web interactions. The authors examined the decision to respond to a Web survey by embedding a series of experiments in a survey of students at the University of Michigan. A sample of over 4,500 students was sent an e-mail invitation to participate in a Web survey on affirmative action policies. Methodological experiments included using a progress indicator, automating password entry, varying the timing of reminder notices to nonrespondents, and using a prenotification report of the anticipated survey length. Each of these experiments was designed to vary the burden (perceived or real) of the survey request. Results of these experiments are presented.