Followup letters

After you have posted the questionnaires, an anxious period of waiting begins. Based on his experience, Gillham (2000) provides a rule-of-thumb estimate that the response you have received by the end of 10 days will be about half of what you can expect to get back in the long run. In order to receive the other half, you need to send a follow-up letter (about 2Vi to 3 weeks after the original mailing). This second mailing is well worth the effort as it can increase the response rate by as much as 30%. With regard to the content of this letter, Gillham makes the following suggestions:

• We need not be too apologetic.

• We should reiterate the importance of the study and of the participants ' contribution.

• There is no need to talk about the response rate to date.

• We should enclose a further copy of the questionnaire and another stamped addressed envelope "in case they did not receive or have mislaid the original one" (p. 48).

In another ten days' time a second follow-up letter can be sent.

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