This article reviews recent trends in modes of conducting surveys and presents results from a series of experiments comparing different approaches for collecting survey data and improving response rates in general population studies. The modes examined include the telephone, mail, and a mixed-mode method which combines mail with Web data collection. A series of studies were conducted by the Oregon State University Survey Research Center from 2006-2014 using probability samples of Oregon residents. Response rates and the percent of respondents completing the questionnaires by Web were compared. The results showed that response rates were increased by modifying the cover letter to emphasize the cost savings of an online response, adding a fifth contact, and limiting instructions for respondents. A mixed-mode approach, providing only a Web link, resulted in more respondents replying by Web as compared with individuals given an option of completing the questionnaire by Web or mail. The demographics of the respondents, as compared with the general population, varied across each mode.
Lesser, Virginia, Lydia Newton, Daniel Yang, and Jean Sifneos. 2016. "Mixed-Mode Surveys Compared with Single Mode Surveys: Trends in Responses and Methods to Improve Completion." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 31(3): Article 2. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol31/iss3/2