Increasing Response Rates and Representativeness of Online Panels Recruited by Mail: Evidence from Experiments in 12 Original Surveys

49 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2018  

Alan Yan

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students

Joshua Kalla

University of California, Berkeley, Students

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: March 8, 2018

Abstract

Scholars have long noted the marked advantages of panel surveys for understanding the nature and causes of shifts in public opinion. Despite these advantages, existing panel survey approaches are often regarded as prohibitively costly or unrepresentative. In this paper, we present new evidence on best practices for an emerging panel survey approach: recruiting online panels by mail from defined sampling frames. We present results from 12 original such panel studies involving over 1 million individuals in total. Each of these panels contained randomized experiments on incentive levels, survey framing, and other features. These experiments allow us to present new recommendations about how to recruit panels using this mode that are more representative and more cost effective. We conclude by discussing limitations of our findings and their implications for other survey modes.

Suggested Citation

Yan, Alan and Kalla, Joshua and Broockman, David E., Increasing Response Rates and Representativeness of Online Panels Recruited by Mail: Evidence from Experiments in 12 Original Surveys (March 8, 2018). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 18-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3136245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3136245

Alan Yan

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Joshua Kalla

University of California, Berkeley, Students ( email )

525 F. Haas School of Business
Berkeley, CA
United States

David E. Broockman (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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