Mail Surveys

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Overview
Responsive Management has a multimodal research center and has the experience and facilities for the development, implementation, analysis, and interpretation of survey research by mail, telephone and Web. Mail surveys entail using various postal or similar (e.g., FedEx) delivery techniques to deliver surveys to potential respondents. Mail surveys are effective in a variety of settings, most notably when contacting named respondents, when contacting respondents who are unlikely or unwilling to respond by telephone or other media, or when delivering some sort of stimulus about which a response will be measured.
Responsive Management maximizes response rates by allowing for multiple methods of completion through the use of fax, e-mail, and various other mail methods. Responsive Management's diligent efforts and rigorous methods have led to consistently high response rates, including a 100% response rate for a study on federal land access. Responsive Management was able to contact and receive in return from all 50 state wildlife agencies a completed survey, which inventoried each state's available hunting lands and budgets for acquiring or leasing land. In another state agency study conducted in 2007, Responsive Management obtained 48 completed questionnaires out of 50 in a nationwide study on fish and wildlife management funding. Responsive Management has been entrusted with the development and implementation of mail surveys for dozens of state and federal natural resource and outdoor recreation agencies, numerous conservation organizations, and private businesses.
Mail surveys can be an effective and efficient method of obtaining public opinion and attitude data if they are designed and implemented properly. Mail surveys must be carefully designed to elicit the best response rates and to reach the target audience. The design, format, and question wording of mail surveys is of critical importance. Surveys must be designed to encourage participation. The survey instrument must be attractive, easy to follow, and understandable.
Responsive Management assists in developing mail questionnaires, providing guidance, expertise, and professional survey writing services throughout the survey instrument development process. Responsive Management designs mail questionnaires collaboratively based on close consultation, discussions, and reviews with the client. Responsive Management conducts all phases of survey development based on client input and our past experience with similar studies.
After the design of the survey questionnaire, the survey instrument is pretested to check for proper wording, proper answer sets, and logistical clarity. Revisions are made after the pretest to the survey instrument before the actual implementation of the survey. Many research firms cut costs by failing to rigorously pretest their survey instruments, which results in poor data collection. Responsive Management always conducts full evaluative pretests of questionnaire survey instruments
The proper implementation of a mail survey is crucial to obtaining accurate and reliable data. Responsive Management employs a multi-contact procedure when conducting mail surveys. Responsive Management's general procedure for conducting mail surveys is as follows:
  • First, the survey instrument is mailed to the entire sample with an accompanying letter of intent explaining the purpose of the survey and the importance of each respondent's participation.
  • Second, reminder letters are sent to respondents who have not returned the survey within the requested time period. Additional copies of the survey are either sent to respondents with the reminder letter or contact information is included with the reminder letter from which a replacement copy of the survey instrument can be requested.
  • Third, if necessary and permitted by time and budget contraints, another wave of reminder letters and copies of the survey are sent to respondents who have not returned the survey.
Questionnaire Programming Language (4.1)
Quality control for all surveys is ensured at Responsive Management. All completed surveys are returned to Responsive Management's central data collection site. The centralized collection of the surveys allows for rigorous quality control over data management and analysis of the mail surveys. Project managers conduct in-depth project briefings with the data entry personnel prior to their working on the specific project. Data entry personnel are instructed on survey goals and objectives, type of study, and handling of survey questions. Questionnaire Programming Language 4.1 (QPL) is used for the mail survey data entry and storage. QPL is a comprehensive system for computer-assisted surveys that provides complete capabilities for designing, administering, and managing data entry. Mail survey data are entered into the computer as the staff scrutinize each completed mail survey. Rigorous quality control measures are used to ensure accuracy and completeness of the entire data entry process.
Data Analysis
All survey data are processed and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 11.5 for Windows software, which is specifically designed for data analysis. SPSS software is used to perform straight tabulations, cross tabulations, statistical significance tests, and nonparametric analyses of how survey responses relate to demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal characteristics. Data processing and analyses includes coding, cleaning of data, preparation of straight tabulations, computer processing with cross tabulations, and preparation of study printouts.
Responsive Management provides a wide variety of statistical methods that are tailored to the purposes of the study. Descriptive analyses are used to examine the characteristics of the sample, while inferential statistics are used to project these analyses to make statements about the population as a whole. Non-parametric analyses are generally performed on data that are entirely categorical (e.g., gender) or entirely ordinal (e.g., increasing levels of support of a statement). Parametric analyses are generally performed on interval data (e.g., age). Univariate procedures are used to examine relationships and differences among individuals on a single characteristic. Multivariate procedures examine these same relationships and differences among individuals using multiple characteristics.
Responsive Management Experience
Responsive Management has extensive experience in the use of quantitative research on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues. Responsive Management has conducted almost 1,000 quantitative and qualitative projects over the past 18 years. Clients include the federal natural resource and land management agencies, most state fish and wildlife agencies, state departments of natural resources, environmental protection agencies, state park agencies, tourism boards, as well as most of the major conservation and sportsmen's organizations. Many of the nation's top universities use Responsive Management for data collection because they recognize the quality of Responsive Management's data services. Responsive Management's success in the quantitative research field, and in mail surveys in particular, comes from our expertise and strong efforts in survey design, methodology, and survey implementation. Because Responsive Management specializes in researching only natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, our senior research staff, research associates and interviewers conduct surveys only on these topics and understand the nuances involved in conducting such research.

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RM Conducts:
Telephone Surveys
Mail Surveys
Focus Groups
Personal Interviews
Park/Outdoor Recreation Intercepts
Web-Based Surveys
Needs Assessments
Programmatic Evaluations
Literature Reviews
Data Collection for Universities and Researchers
RM Develops:
Marketing Plans
Communications Plans
Business Plans
Policy Analysis
Public Relations Plans

 130 Franklin Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801    Phone (540) 432-1888    Fax (540) 432-1892    mark@responsivemanagement.com
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