Response Rates in Mail Surveys: A Review of the Reviews.Report as inadecuate

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As a predominant research method, the mail survey has been the subject of a considerable body of research. Several major reviews of research have been published that attempt to synthesize findings of empirical studies and identify techniques that stimulate responses. The review articles are examined, identifying procedures and potential publication sources. Reviews are limited to those that are comprehensive in nature, and that focus on identifying techniques that facilitate response rates in mail surveys. Through searches of computerized databases, 9 reviews were located, based on 329 source studies. There is considerable variation among the nine articles. It is evident that the choice of keywords or descriptors and differences in the databases have influenced the outcomes of the reviewers' search efforts. There is great disparity in the ways in which the procedures used in the integrated review articles are documented. The next step will be to compare the mail survey response rate variables that were studied. Four tables present information about the reviews. Appendix A lists the journal of publication for the source articles across time, and Appendix B lists the source article publication sources. (SLD)

Descriptors: Databases, Literature Reviews, Mail Surveys, Meta Analysis, Research Methodology, Research Reports, Response Rates (Questionnaires), Responses, Scholarly Journals, Search Strategies

Author: Boser, Judith A.; Clark, Sheldon B.



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