Response problems

The response rate is low, unless the researcher/marketer knows how to get good responses to a postal study. A problem with a low response rate is that those who respond are not necessarily similar to those who do not. The results, therefore, may be misleading. Experience often indicates that people who reply to a survey are those who are most interested or those with extreme feelings or opinions about the survey's subject matter. It is essential to compare the reactions of those who respond immediately and those who respond only on follow-up. Moreover, it can be dangerous to depend on the findings of a postal survey.

ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS OF POSTAL SURVEYS

Advantages

• no interviewer bias

• questionnaire length

Limitations

• questionnaire scope

• respondent interaction

• sampling problems

• response rate problems

• lack of control over respondents

• wrong respondents - wrong information

Another response problem concerns the market definition for the particular product or service. Partial illiteracy is a feature of many populations in the west. It is also greater among households with lower incomes. If the product or service is one whose market extends into the lower income levels, people simply cannot or will not respond, leading to a non-measurement of that segment of the market.

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