The effects of position, context, and order on consent to data linkage in a survey

Publication type

Understanding Society Working Paper Series

Series Number



Understanding Society Working Paper Series


Publication date

April 4, 2023


We report on an experiment where we ask survey respondents to consent to two forms of data linkage to health records and to consent to be mailed a serology kit. We varied the placement (early, early in context or late in the survey) and order (linkage first or serology first) of the consent requests. We also examine reasons for consent or non-consent. We find that order of the requests does not make much difference, but making the requests early in the survey significantly increases consent rates over asking them after a series of content-related questions or later in the survey.



PLEASE CITE AS: Burton, J., Couper, M.P., and Jäckle, A. (2024) ‘The effects of placement and order on consent to data linkage in a web survey’, Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology.

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