Improving the quality of information in mail surveys: Use of special mailings

Document Type



The article presents a survey of registered voters' assessment of a local government to illustrate the usefulness of "special follow-up" procedures in mail survey. "Special" follow-up procedures in mail surveys made a difference, it is clear that special mailings made a difference by increasing the return rate (a previously documented finding) and in who responds--individuals with lower educational levels were induced to respond. It is also evident that early and late respondents differed in their attitudes and behavior. Late respondents were more likely to hold "no opinion." Moreover, the two groups displayed differences in assessment of county government handling of growth. Analysis of the impact of education on differences in attitudes between early and late respondents provided evidence that simple weighting procedures cannot assure solving the response bias problems that simpler design procedures engender. The current research supports the belief that less educated persons cannot be assigned a greater weight because the response difference between early and late respondents was not accounted for solely by education.


County government; Local government; Mail surveys – Response rate


Community-Based Research | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Politics and Social Change | Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


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