An experiment was conducted to determine the effectiveness of three invitation and incentive combinations in a web-based survey. A stratified convenience sample of 434 researchers who were target users of a collaboratory for earthquake engineering was randomly divided into three experimental conditions: (a) a $5 bill sent with the survey instructions via first class mail, (b) a $5 gift certificate code to Amazon.com sent with the survey instructions via first-class mail, or (c) a $5 gift certificate code to Amazon.com sent with the survey instructions via e-mail. Overall response was 43%. Results show that $5 bills led to significantly higher response rates than either gift certificate condition (57% for cash vs. 36% for the two gift certificate conditions, χ 2(1) = 93, p <.01). This suggests that cash is a superior incentive for an online survey, even with technologically sophisticated respondents. This may be due to the perceived limitations, delayed payoff, or reduced visibility of online gift certificates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences(all)
- Computer Science Applications
- Library and Information Sciences