The Effect of Incentives on Internet Surveys: Response Rate Changes After the Introduction of Incentives

  • Kennedy, John M. (Indiana University Bloomington) ;
  • Ouimet, Judith A. (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Published : 2014.02.28


Incentives are often included in survey design because they are known to improve response rates, at least moderately. This paper describes the changes in the response rates when incentives were introduced into a longitudinal survey. The National Survey of Student Engagement was conducted annually at Indiana University Bloomington from 2000 through 2012. In 2010, incentives were introduced in an attempt to reverse the declining response rates. The incentives performed as expected, raising the AAPOR Response Rate 3 from 24% in 2009 to 36% in 2010. From 2010 through 2012, different types of incentives were tried but the response rates did not change substantially. The results from the changes in incentives can help survey practitioners decide the number and types of incentives that might be used effectively to increase response rates.


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