Using motivational statements in web instrument design to reduce item missing rates in a mixed-mode context

Publication type

Understanding Society Working Paper Series

Series Number



Understanding Society Working Paper Series


Publication date

March 28, 2014


Web surveys generally produce higher item nonresponse than face-to-face administration.
This study examines alternative forms of motivational statements to reduce item nonresponse
in a web survey, using an experiment in the UKHLS Innovation Panel. Findings show that a
motivational statement following immediately after an unanswered item outperforms either
the control, presenting only opt-out options after an initial skip attempt, or a later-placed
motivational statement. The immediate prompt reduces item nonresponse to levels equivalent
to a face-to-face version, whereas other versions show increased missingness. The results
suggest practical design implications in reduction of item nonresponse when using a web
design, particularly the use and placement of motivational statements.


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