Methodology of Longitudinal Surveys II


Motivating male respondents to stay in a panel

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Type:Contributed Paper
Jul 25, 13:45
  • Olena Kaminska – Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex

Attrition is one of the key quality indicators of a longitudinal survey, and its importance is ever increasing in the current context of high nonresponse rates. In this study we explore a new way of motivating panel respondents to continue responding in future waves: through a motivational message within a questionnaire. In a very short message as an introduction to the health module we ask respondents to take time to think through their answers reminding them of the importance of this for our research. We then explore their likelihood of continuing to participate in the subsequent two waves of the panel survey.

Using data from the Innovation Panel of UKHLS we asked the motivational question to a random half of the respondents participating at wave 7. We found that the attrition rate in wave 8 and especially in wave 9 is much lower among the group that received the motivational message. Interestingly, the difference is observed only among male participants and not among female participants, with a larger difference among older respondents and among those who participated in the panel the longest in comparison to the refreshment groups. We conclude with a discussion of the psychology behind male versus female motivation to continue participating in a panel study.


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