Recruiting non-respondents for a conversation about reasons for non-response: A description and evaluation

Marieke Haan*, Vera Toepoel, Yfke Ongena, Björn Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

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The decline in survey response rates has become a significant concern in survey research. To address this issue and gain a deeper understanding of non-participation, a research approach was pursued involving semi-structured interviews with non-respondents, guided by survey theories and practical experiences from Statistics Netherlands (SN). Experienced SN interviewers visited 2763 addresses of individuals who initially did not respond to a survey request from one out of six different SN surveys. Non-responding individuals were given another opportunity to participate in a SN survey immediately at their doorstep or by scheduling an appointment. In case of refusal, interviewers presented the option to engage in a qualitative interview study led by the University of Groningen (UG). However, despite concerted efforts by interviewers, none could successfully convince non-respondents to participate in the UG interview study about survey experiences. The inclusion of personal information on a form, particularly those requiring a signature, led to increased refusals and privacy concerns. An evaluation during an expert meeting with SN interviewers suggested three potential strategies for future recruitment efforts: exploring a collaborative approach between SN interviewers and UG researchers, considering incentives, and developing a tailored fact sheet for the UG study to enhance its relevance to potential respondents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalSurvey Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14-Mar-2024


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