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Sastry's 10-year study of New Orleans Katrina evacuees shows demographic differences between returning and nonreturning

Stafford says less educated, smaller investors more likely to sell off stock and lock in losses during market downturn

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Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

Should I stay or should I go: The effects of progress feedback, promised task duration, and length of questionnaire on completing web surveys

Publication Abstract

Yan, T., Frederick G. Conrad, Mick P. Couper, and Roger Tourangeau. 2011. "Should I stay or should I go: The effects of progress feedback, promised task duration, and length of questionnaire on completing web surveys." International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 23(2): 131-147.

Many researchers include "progress indicators" in web questionnaires. The rationale is that if respondents know how much remains they will be more likely to complete the task. Previous research has shown that progress indicators often do not increase and sometimes even hurt completion rates, but in some circumstances they do help. Our hypothesis in the current experiment is that the effect of progress indicators depends on how long respondents believe the task will take and on how long it actually takes. We explore this by varying three factors in a web survey: (a) the task duration promised in the survey invitation; (b) the actual length of the questionnaire; and (c) whether or not a progress indicator is displayed. We found that the effect of progress indicators depend on respondents' expectations and the degree to which they were realized; the presence of a progress indicator led to fewer breakoffs when respondents expected a short task based on the invitation and when the questionnaire was indeed short than when they expected the task to be longer. We discuss how all three factors work together in influencing respondents' question-by-question decisions to continue the survey or to break off.

DOI:10.1093/ijpor/edq046 (Full Text)

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