Recruiting Probability Samples for Multi-Mode Research Panel with Internet and Mail Components

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

May 18, 2010


Survey response rates have been declining over the last several decades, particularly for random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone surveys (see de Leeuw, et al., 2002; Steeh, 1981). This trend affects research panels such as the Gallup Panel, which uses RDD methodology to recruit its members. If significant improvements in panel recruitment response rates are to be achieved, new approaches must be considered. This paper presents the findings of a mail and telephone mode experiment conducted by the Gallup Panel to analyze the individual and combined effects of incentives, advance letters, and follow-up telephone calls on the panel recruitment response rate. Study results indicate that the mail recruitment approach nets a higher panel response rate, and that the cost effectiveness of the mail recruitment approach is significantly greater than the telephone recruitment approach. Study results also suggest that the advance letter, incentive, and telephone follow-up conditions all have independent, positive influences on the response rate; that the groups that receive an advance letter, that receive incentives, and that receive a follow-up telephone call have higher panel recruitment response rates than the control group.

Published in

Public Opinion Quarterly

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 74 , p.68 -86







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