The Effects of Electronic Alert Letters in the Time of COVID-19

22 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2020

See all articles by Ashlee Frandell

Ashlee Frandell

Independent

Mary K. Feeney

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Public Affairs

Timothy Johnson

University of Illinois at Chicago

Eric Welch

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies

Lesley Michalegko

Arizona State University (ASU)

Heyjie Jung

Arizona State University; Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies; Ewha Womans University

Date Written: August 13, 2020

Abstract

Survey alert letters improve response rates and assure potential respondents that the research is legitimate and high quality. Pre-notification by mail increases response rates for web surveys because of the multi-mode use and increases in respondent trust. Due to the work-from-home orders in response to COVID-19, postal alert letters are unlikely to reach research participants. Thus, we conducted an experiment testing the effects of receiving an alert email on web survey response rates as compared to no alert email and variation in the alert email timing. The data comes from a sample of 1,969 university-based scientists. We examined crosstabulations, chi-square tests and logistic regressions to investigate the effects of the email alert letter. We find email alert pre-notifications are not very effective in improving response rates to web surveys. Thus, COVID-19 and other similar circumstances that limit contact options can constrain researchers and limit academic progress by restricting contact options.

Keywords: survey research, alert letters, pre-notification, response rate

Suggested Citation

Frandell, Ashlee and Feeney, Mary K. and Johnson, Timothy and Welch, Eric and Michalegko, Lesley and Jung, Heyjie, The Effects of Electronic Alert Letters in the Time of COVID-19 (August 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3673554 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3673554

Mary K. Feeney

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ
United States

Timothy Johnson

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Eric Welch

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies ( email )

411 N Central Avenue, Suite 463
School of Public Affairs
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States
6024962463 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://csteps.asu.edu

Lesley Michalegko

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Heyjie Jung

Arizona State University ( email )

411 N Central Ave #750,
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies ( email )

411 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

Ewha Womans University ( email )

11-1 Daehyun-dong
Seodaemun-gu
Seoul 120-750, Seoul Seoul 120
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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