Trade‑Association Endorsements, Postal&Online Responses, and Other Factors Affecting Response Rates: Reflections on a Survey of Micro‑Firms


  • Marc E. Betton
  • J. Robert Branston
  • Philip R. Tomlinson



Survey methods, response rate, online questionnaires, trade-associations, endorsement, sponsorship


Researchers using survey‑based methods must do everything they can to enhance their response rates in order toimprove the robustness and validity of the data they collect for analysis. Extant literature has explored several techniques todo this across many contexts, including experiments/meta‑analyses. This paper addresses two particular deficits byconsidering the difficult context of micro‑firms and also the impact of trade‑association endorsement (rather thansponsorship). This is done by conducting an in‑depth ex‑post review of a single, successful survey case conducted and utilisedin a study of English tourism firms and regulation. We explore several factors: the type of trade‑association support (includinglevels of endorsement, access to member firms, and messages sent on behalf of the research team); postal versus onlinequestionnaires; message type/frequency; and the importance of giving respondents an opportunity for open comments. Thepaper ends with a comprehensive set of suggestions for future researchers.



1 Jan 2020