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Improving between-wave mailings on longitudinal surveys: A randomised experiment on the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Calderwood, Lisa (2012) Improving between-wave mailings on longitudinal surveys: A randomised experiment on the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Working Paper. Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

Typically, longitudinal survey managers send ‘keep in touch’ mailings to sample members between waves to help minimise non-response through failure to locate individuals at future waves. This paper reports the results from a randomised experiment to improve the effectiveness of the between-wave mailing on the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a largescale birth cohort study in the UK. Our experimental intervention, which involved revising the content of the covering letters used in the 2010 mailing, aimed to increase the proportion of sample members responding to the mailing, particularly among those with higher attrition rates: lower-educated sample members and minority ethnic groups. The re-design involved making the letter easier to read, due to a concern that poor literacy or English language skills may be a barrier to returning the form for some groups. The re-design also changed the style and signatory, motivated by the psychological concepts of reciprocity, linking and helping tendencies. Our main finding, that the design of the covering letter has a minimal impact on the effectiveness of these mailings, will help guide further research in this area and help to inform practice on longitudinal surveys. The results also make an important contribution to the existing evidence on the content of advance letters more generally and thereby have broader applicability for survey research and practice.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2013 04:26
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 10:33
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