An Investigation into the Effect of Questionnaire Identification Numbers in Consumer Mail Surveys

Stavros P. Kalafatis
Charles Blankson
Kingston Business School


The potential of bias, especially non-response bias, associated with low response rates has led many researchers to examine the effect that different response inducing techniques have on the effectiveness (in terms of response rate, quality of response, cost per response and so on) of mail surveys. Over the past 30 or so years there have been a number of literature and quantitative reviews of studies dealing with response inducing techniques (see among others Scott (1961), Blumberg et al (1974), Kanuk & Berenson (1975), Linsky (1975), Heberlein & Baumgartner (1978), Duncan (1979), Goyder (1982), Yu & Cooper (1983), Harvey (1987), Fox et al (1988) and Yammarino et al (1991). Although the reported results are not always consistent, there is a general consensus that, prenotification, identity of the survey sponsor, repeated contacts (that is, follow-ups), inclusion of a return envelope, incentives, and foot-in-the door techniques significantly improve overall effectiveness of mail surveys.