The effectiveness of between-wave mailings and targeted incentives on response rates: results from a longitudinal NEPS-survey young adolescent experiment
Roman Auriga, Götz Lechner, Anna Passmann, André Pirralha, Friederike Schlücker
LIfBi – Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe
Retaining and keeping engaged longitudinal survey participants is an important issue in survey research because it directly impacts both the quality and the cost of the survey data. Research has shown that unconditional incentives are effective in promoting higher response rates. While the literature on incentives is large, less attention has been devoted to between-wave contact strategies and their effects on survey participation.
This study evaluates the impact of between-wave keeping-in-touch mailings and a tailored incentive on response rates of the following wave of the NEPS, an educational longitudinal survey. Drawing on previous research, we design an experiment where participants were randomly assigned to five conditions: no contact update letter; contact update letter mailing; contact update letter and a tailored in- kind incentive; contact update letter and a feedback brochure presenting findings based on the specific data collected in this certain group of targets; contact update letter, tailored in-kind incentive and the feedback brochure. The results show which contact strategy had a bigger effect on participation rates. Preliminary findings suggest that between-wave mailings impact response rates. Furthermore, we also discuss the importance of designing tailored incentives and communication strategies to keep respondents engaged with panel studies.