Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Blaine R. Worthen


Blaine R. Worthen


Karl R. White


Richard Krannich


The intent of this research was to examine variables that might influence the response rates to mailed questionnaires. The variables examined were the socioeconomic statuses of the subjects, the time of payment of a monetary incentive, and the amount of payment. Subjects were 375 residents of Cache County, Utah, selected from three levels of socioeconomic status. The subjects were selected on the basis of information they provided about their income and education levels during a telephone interview. Subjects within each level of socioeconomic status were further divided into four treatment groups and one control group. All groups were mailed the questionnaire. In addition, subjects in Group 1 were sent an enclosed $1, those in Group 2 received $2, those in Group 3 were promised $1 if they returned the completed questionnaire, those in Group 4 were similarly promised $2 if they returned a completed questionnaire, and subjects in Group 5 were neither paid nor promised any incentive. The questionnaire itself was developed with the help of Utah State University's Extension Services, who needed to survey the local population on issues pertaining to family and economic well-being.

The response rate for the entire sample was 56.8%. Subjects from the high socioeconomic status group had the highest response rate, while subjects with the lowest socioeconomic status had the lowest response rate. Including the monetary incentive along with the questionnaire yielded a higher response rate than did promising an incentive for returning the questionnaire. Similarly, subjects receiving $2 had a higher response rate than those receiving $1. It was also found that the higher the socioeconomic status, the less the difference made by the time of payment of the incentive.

When the cost effectiveness of the different treatments was analyzed it was found that at the higher levels of response rate, prepaying the incentive was a more efficient method, while promising the incentive proved cheaper at the lower levels of response rate.



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