Strategies To Increase The Quality And Quantity Of Participant Response

The main message of this section can be summarized in three words: Administration procedures matter! It was emphasized more than once in the previous two chapters that the 'Achilles heel' of questionnaires as measuring instruments is that it is difficult to get respondents to spend enough time and effort completing them. Educational researchers are in a slightly better position in this respect because school children are often willing to work hard on a task simply because it is assigned to them, but the older the students get the less this is so. Adults - and young adults - are usually perfectly aware of the fact that they have nothing to gain from participating in the survey and may also see the questionnaire as an intrusion both literally and metaphorically. Haven't we all thought at one time or another that a questionnaire we have received was nothing but a nuisance? As Gillham (2000, p. 10) rightly notes, "the market is questionnaire saturated," and even if someone completes and returns a questionnaire, the chances are that he/she will not have worked hard at the answers.

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