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I Get Mail Every Day, but What Happened to All of the Surveys?

The good old days, when you went to your mailbox with that excited look on your face and reached in and pulled out stacks of mail. From time to time you would get a survey–a mail survey to fill out with a crisp $1 or $2 dollar bill. Some respondents loved the experience; some filled it out because they felt obligated because of the crisp bills that were sent to them. While others filled it out because they had interest in the product or service.

In preparation for moderating the MRA end user group I was doing a little research for the moderators guide and a discussion started about mail surveys. A number of people chimed in and lo and behold it not only is a topic for the session next month, but I thought it should be a topic for a blog.

Mail surveys began in the 1970’s. Researchers began sending questionnaires via mail to either randomized samples of the U.S. population or a subset of a research panel.

What happened to them? Yes phone research took away some of the data collection pie from mail surveys and clearly online did the same.

I really want to hear from companies and staff that are conducting mail surveys.

  • How are the response rates?
  • When is it appropriate?
  • Any best practices you can share?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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