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Many researchers have examined the effect of providing a variety of nonmonetary incentives to subjects. These include token gifts such as small packages of coffee, ball-point pens, postage stamps, key rings, trading stamps, participation in a raffle or lottery, or a donation to a charity in the respondent's name. Generally (although not consistently), nonmonetary incentives have resulted in an increased response. A meta-analysis of 38 studies that used some form of an incentive revealed that monetary and nonmonetary incentives were effective only when enclosed with the survey. The promise of an incentive for a returned questionnaire was not effective in increasing response. The average increase in response rate for monetary and nonmonetary incentives was 19.1 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.

Most researchers have found that higher monetary incentives generally work better than smaller ones. One researcher proposed a diminishing return model, where increasing the amount of the incentive would have a decreasing effect on response rate. A meta-analysis of fifteen studies showed that an incentive of 25 increased the response rate by an average of 16 percent, and $1 increased the response by 31 percent.

Offering a copy of the final report has proved to be a good incentive when respondents are actively involved in the subject of the survey..

 

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