May 26th, 2012 Katherine Albers
“These martyrs of patriotism gave their lives for an idea.” ~Schuyler Colfax
The day which marks the official arrival of summer is finally here: Memorial Day. Pools will be crowded with hot bodies eager to soak up some rays, back yard grills will be dusted off to prepare summer meals, and that perfect pair of flip-flops will be fished out of the summer storage box. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, this Federal Holiday originated after the American Civil War to honor fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country. So this weekend, as you enjoy the extra day off of work, soaking up summer’s infant sun and sipping new seasonal ales, be sure to take a moment to remember the origins of the holiday.
Here are some fun facts to share with your friends and family this weekend:
1. On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
2. Red Poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower.
3. Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers.
4. New York was the 1st state to officially recognize Memorial Day.
May 24th, 2012 Katherine Albers
Resolution Research wants to recognize our very own Madolyn Jones, one of 550 people who attended President Obama’s campaign event at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, CO on Wednesday. Tickets started at $250, and afforded attendees a chance to hear the President speak about his campaign and thoughts about opposition. “This election will be closer than last one,” said Obama. “People don’t remember last election was close. We’re going to have to contend with even more negative ads, even more cynicism and nastiness and just plain foolishness.” Madolyn was able to decipher every word clearly (not that Obama has any issue with articulation) but because she was one of the few very close to the stage.
“To be included in such an intimate environment with President Obama and other business, community and political leaders of Colorado was an empowering experience…second only to standing among thousands to watch him accept the Democratic Nomination in 2008″ -Madolyn Jones
Earlier in the day, President Obama had delivered the commencement speech to 2012′s graduating class at the Air Force Academy.
May 24th, 2012 Nina Nichols, CEO
But, first let’s distinguish between response rates, incidence rates, completion rates and non-response . They are related, but not the same, and some clients use these concepts interchangeably, which lead to confusion in sample size and cost estimations.
Response rates are usually calculated based on the number of respondents who attempt to participate in a survey, even if they are disqualified after they have been screened with certain questions. If we send a survey invitation to a sample size of 100 people and only 5 attempt to take the survey, then the response rate would be 5%. Response rates have been used for years as indicators of data accuracy, however recent research has indicated that lower response rates don’t necessarily mean low quality data.
Response rates are affected by:
• Survey topic relevancy: People will not dedicate time to participate in surveys that are perceived as irrelevant.
• Incentives: Sometimes an incentive is needed to motivate respondents, but careful consideration needs to be given to this. Incentives are a tricky subject since we may attract only certain types of respondents and insert selection bias in the sample.
• Survey invitation: Survey invitations should be personalized and provide compelling reasons to participate in the survey. A poorly written invitation can drive respondents away or not catch their attention. Use appealing subject taglines and make the invitation short, clear and persuasive.
• Type of relationship with target survey audience: Depending on the level of relationship respondents have with the brand, organization or company sponsoring the project they will be more or less motivated to participate. For example, customer surveys tend to have higher response rates than those targeted at non-customers. For more on this, check Survey Response Rate Directly Proportional to Strength of Relationship by Jeffrey Henning.
• Reminders: These may be needed to reach busy people or those not available within a certain time frame when the first invitation is sent out.
Incidence rates are based on the number of respondents that qualify for a study based on certain screening criteria. For example, if we need a sample of females in the general population without any other requirements, the incidence rate is expected to be 50% since half of the population are women. Incidence rates will vary depending on who we are targeting with the study.
Response rates are often used to indicate the number of completed surveys, but I think it is worth to make the distinction between response rates and completion rates since this has methodological and cost implications ( e.g. when purchasing sample from online or list providers).
Completion rates indicate how many people who qualified for the study completed the survey. If they enter the survey, answer some questions and then abandon the survey, they will be counted as incompletes and are usually excluded from the final data. The number of incompletes increases when:
1. The survey is too long
2. Survey flow is confusing
3. There are skip logic errors that show irrelevant questions to respondents who can’t answer them
4. Questions are poorly worded and instructions are unclear
5. Questions are complex and requite a lot of mental effort from the respondent
6. The respondent is not rewarded accordingly based on survey length and amount of effort required
7. The topic and survey format can’t hold the respondent’s interest
8. Privacy protection is unclear or lacking
Non-response occurs when we fail to get a response from the total sample either because respondents refuse to participate in the survey or they start but never complete it. If non-responses follow a pattern that systematically excludes a particular segment of the sample, they introduce what it calls selection bias, which will prevent us from getting a representative sample of opinions in the population of interest.
Nonrespondents are often different from respondents, so their absence in the final sample can make it difficult to generalize the results to the overall target population.
I hope the above information is beneficial and helps clarify any confusion surrounding the different industry terms regarding “response.” Naturally, the best way to find your true response rate is to conduct a test survey with your target market to better understand the challenges and opportunities in creating an ongoing relationship with your audience. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Nina Nichols, CEO