Chapter 6

Understanding and Coping with Response Burden

Gustav Haraldsen, Jacqui Jones, Deirdre Giesen, and Li-Chun Zhang

We have emphasized several times that the monetary and cognitive burden of business surveys are two sides of the same coin and together may significantly impact the quality of survey results. Time is money in businesses. Because questionnaire completion in businesses is a cost that does not lead to any obvious financial return, time-consuming survey enquiries tend to create irritation and can be downgraded in terms of priorities. If businesses are frequently asked to participate in surveys, and surveys are time-consuming, with perplexing questions and burdensome answers to provide, there will be an increased risk of low response quality.

The term actual response burden is commonly used to describe the time taken to respond to a questionnaire with, perceived response burden describing respondents' perceptions of their survey experience. For example, Hedlin et al. (2005) found that respondents rarely equate burden with the frequency and length of times with which they respond to a particular survey. Instead, respondents perceive burden as associated with factors such as the mode of data collection, who is conducting the survey (i.e., which survey organization), and whether the produced statistics are useful to the business and/or society. Actual and perceived burden are intertwined, but still two different and relevant aspects of response burden. In businesses ...

Get Designing and Conducting Business Surveys now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.