SME survey methodology : response rates, data quality, and cost effectiveness

Rick Newby, John Watson, David Woodliff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cost effective data collection is an important methodological issue for small and medium enterprise (SME) researchers. There is a generally held view that mail surveys are the most efficient means of collecting empirical data, despite the potential difficulties associated with low response rates. To enhance the usefulness of mail surveys, researchers have suggested a variety of strategies aimed at improving response rates. While previous studies have examined the effect on response rates of many of these strategies, their impact on data quality and on the cost effectiveness of data collection is less well understood. This study evaluates four response-inducing strategies (printing the survey instrument on colored paper, telephone pre-notification, payment of a monetary incentive, and a follow-up mailing) in terms of their effect on data quality, response rates, and cost effectiveness for a population of SMEs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
JournalEntrepreneurship Theory and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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