Many studies have attempted to determine if there is a
difference between respondents and nonrespondents. Some
researchers have reported that people who respond to
surveys answer questions differently than those who do
not. Others have found that late responders answer
differently than early responders, and that the
differences may be due to the different levels of
interest in the subject matter. One researcher, who
examined a volunteer organization, reported that those
more actively involved in the organization were more
likely to respond.
Demographic characteristics of nonrespondents have
been investigated by many researchers. Most studies have
found that nonresponse is associated with low education.
However, one researcher reported that demographic
characteristics such as age, education, and employment
status were the same for respondents and nonrespondents.
Another study found that nonrespondents were more often
Most researchers view nonresponse bias as a continuum,
ranging from fast responders to slow responders (with
nonresponders defining the end of the continuum). In
fact, one study used extrapolation to estimate the
magnitude of bias created by nonresponse. Another group
of researchers argue that nonresponse should not be
viewed as a continuum, and that late respondents do not
provide a suitable basis for estimating the
characteristics of nonrespondents.