Improving Survey Response Rates in Online Panels: Effects of Low-Cost Incentives and Cost-Free Text Appeal Interventions

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Identifying ways to efficiently maximize the response rate to surveys is important in survey-based research. However, evidence on the response rate effect of donation incentives and especially altruistic and egotistic text appeal interventions is sparse and ambiguous. Via a randomized survey experiment among 6,162 members of an online survey panel, this article shows how low-cost incentives and cost-free text appeal interventions may affect the survey response rate in online panels. The experimental treatments comprise (a) a cash prize lottery incentive, (b) two donation incentives that promise a monetary donation to a good cause in return for survey response, (c) an egotistic text appeal, and (d) an altruistic text appeal. Relative to a control group, we find higher response rates among recipients of the egotistic text appeal and the lottery incentive. Donation incentives yield lower response rates
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)229-243
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 227087577