Communicating the purpose and significance of the survey

Although actions may speak louder than words, this does not mean that words don't matter. An important element in 'selling' the survey to the participants is communicating to them the purpose of the survey and conveying to them the potential significance of the results. People tend not to mind answering questions if they see the point. We should also be aware of the fact that, as Gillham (2000) warns us, in our information-conscious age there is a general suspicion that much more data are stored about us than what we know of, and that even 'anonymous' information can be identified. Therefore, unless researchers explain why the information is being collected and how it will be used, some people may be reluctant to complete the questionnaire or to provide true answers even if nothing sensitive is being targeted.

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