What’s the Real Value of Your Time?

I have already talked about how to understand survey motivation by using a cost-benefit analysis.  In this post, I will focus on the individual costs and how they affect a person’s motivation.

Some of the normal costs an individual encounters when participating in a survey include time, effort, and convenience.  If survey administrators don’t take these costs into consideration, it is immediately obvious to a participant! Our job is to decrease the costs as much as possible and increase participation rates.

Sounds pretty easy, right?

Remember, surveys should require as little time and effort to complete as possible.  Access to the survey should be easy and submitting a completed survey should require just one click.

Here are some helpful hints to minimize costs and prove that you value constituent feedback:

  • Provide direct access to the survey.  This is becoming easier with the Internet.  Emails can be sent to prospective respondents, a post can be added to Facebook, and results can be tweeted.  The difficult part is deciding the best way to connect!
  • Provide alternative access to the survey.  Not everyone has access to a computer, iPad, or smartphone.  Try working with community organizations to provide convenient access at places like churches, schools, and grocery stores.
  • Keep surveys short. Participants should be able to complete the survey within 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Use simple language. Surveys must be written in a way that avoids complex terminology or jargon. This will prevent frustration and drop-outs.
  • Protect your respondents’ private information and ensure that it will not be shared. Use your pre-survey communication to let participants know what kind of privacy settings are in place — if they know their responses are anonymous, they’re much more likely to give candid feedback.
  • Provide any necessary information about specific topics or questions before the survey period begins.

Following these steps will go a long way toward reducing personal costs; however, decreased costs are just part of the equation.  Next time, I’ll talk about the benefits of participation.

 

Want to learn more? Please read my report: Maximizing Survey Participation

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