Surveys and questionnaires are common tools used in construction and engineering project organization
research, though there is a dearth of literature on how to best conduct surveys of issues related to these
topics. In this paper, we analyzed how three factors—choice of response mode, incentive timing, and
urbanicity—affect response rate, response speed, and degree of survey completion. The survey design used
postal contact to solicit participation in a web survey of the general public in Oklahoma and Colorado
regarding oil and gas development and hazards. We found that offering a choice of two response modes
(web response or mailed paper response) had no significant effect on response rate, response speed, or the
degree of survey completion compared to those only offered the web response option. We also found that
the timing of a guaranteed incentive (i.e. receiving a monetary incentive in the initial contact versus in the
first follow-up) did not significantly affect response rate or the degree of survey completion but did result
in a faster response time. Urbanicity of a target community significantly affected all three measures: urban
communities exhibited a higher response rate, quicker response speed, and a greater degree of survey
completion as compared to rural households, regardless of mode choice or the timing of the incentive.
Findings will help inform researchers who employ household surveys how survey design choices impact
Tracy, A. and A. Javernick-Will (2020). “Incentivizing Survey Response: How Incentive Timing, Response Mode Choice, and Urbanicity Affect Survey Response”. Engineering Project Organizations Journal. Vol 9. 10.25219/epoj.2020.00105.