Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tips: Increasing survey response rates

Getting a high survey response rate is always a concern when administering a survey.  A high response rate will provide an accurate picture of the target population and allow you to make meaningful conclusions.

The response rate is calculated by the total number of complete returned surveys (or 80% or more) divided by the total number of participants you contacted. So if you asked 20 graduating students to complete an exit survey and 15 completed the survey, the response rate is 75%. There are several strategies to increase the response rates:
  • Communicate the survey purpose, value, and how results will be used.
  • Give sufficient time to complete the survey (online survey: 7-14 days)
  • Make sure the survey is short, clear, logical, and easy to follow. Pilot-test the survey, so the items and instructions are written in understandable manner to the potential respondents.
  • Send out reminders (thank the respondents, show how many responded, include a survey link, and remind respondents about the deadline)
  • Use the existing opportunities to gather the target respondents (e.g., administer the survey in class, staff meeting, etc.)
  • Offer an incentive (e.g., gift certificate, etc.)  
  • Consider the best timing of your survey, so you are not administering the survey when the respondents are busy.  

Other resources: 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Heiland & Rosenthal (Eds.). (2011). Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment

The Teagle Foundation has announced a free online book on outcomes assessment in literary studies. This edited volume by Heiland and Rosenthal brings together literary scholars, foreign language and English department faculty, and assessment experts to provide disciplinary perspectives to outcomes assessment.

Those of you who are engaged in humanities and liberal arts programs will find the book enlightening and informative. The book, consisting of 19 chapters, responds to questions, such as:
  • "How do we accurately depict and assess humanities outcomes that are often perceived as sublime and ineffable?" 
  • "How can we localize assessment within the discipline?" 
  • "How do we ensure ownership of assessment and make assessment a collaborative and useful process?"

In concordance with the publication of the book, a "National Symposium on Assessment in the Humanities" was held at Miami University on February 23rd and 24th, 2011. The papers presented at the symposium is scheduled to be available online soon (according to the website). Stay tuned!