Journal Article

Using Motivational Statements in Web-Instrument Design to Reduce Item-Missing Rates in a Mixed-Mode Context

Tarek Al Baghal and Peter Lynn

in Public Opinion Quarterly

Published on behalf of American Association for Public Opinion Research

Volume 79, issue 2, pages 568-579
Published in print January 2015 | ISSN: 0033-362X
Published online May 2015 | e-ISSN: 1537-5331 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfv023
Using Motivational Statements in Web-Instrument Design to Reduce Item-Missing Rates in a Mixed-Mode Context

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Web questionnaires, including those used in mixed-mode surveys, generally produce higher levels of item nonresponse than interviewer-administered questionnaires. Item nonresponse is generally seen as having a detrimental impact on data quality. The current study examines using motivational statements to reduce item nonresponse in a web survey component of a mixed-mode design. The effects of alternative implementations are compared, both for web surveys and for mixed-mode surveys. In addition, the mixed-mode results are compared to a face-to-face survey. The current study adds to the literature on the use of motivational statements by using a unique large-scale randomized experiment to examine the impact of the timing of the motivational statement, and to compare with the same survey in an interviewer-administered context. Findings show that a motivational statement following immediately after an item is left unanswered greatly outperforms either the control or a motivational statement at a later point in the survey. Using this immediate reactive prompt reduces item nonresponse to levels equivalent to a face-to-face version. Conversely, the control (no statement) and later placed motivational statement lead to significantly greater item nonresponse. Point estimates for the tested variables are not affected by the additional responses obtained. The results suggest practical design implications to reduce item nonresponse when using a web design, specifically the use of a reactive motivational prompt in a planned way.

Journal Article.  4105 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Sciences

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