February 25th, 2008 by Jared Bothwell
After recently re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I thought it might be useful to take a similar approach to marketing research. Marketing research is like a lot of disciplines, part art, part science. It is the practitioners experience and knowledge that combines the two elements into workable solutions.
As a practitioner I am busy working away and rarely have the time to stop and reflect why a particular practice is important and why it really matters. I see the new category Zen and the Art of Marketing Research as an opportunity for myself to revisit some of the theories underlying the research practices. Hopefully they also form a useful resource for other research practitioners and interested parties.
Survey Response Rates
A survey response rate can be broadly defined as the percentage of total attempted interviews that are completed. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the response rate the better. Why? – the main purpose is to reduce non-response bias (which I’ll talk about in my next posting).
It makes perfect sense that the response rate to your survey is critical. i.e. if no one answers your survey you will have no responses to analyse. What is a good response rate you ask?, Well ideally a 100% response rate to your survey would be preferable although unlikely. For the sake of surveying we Sheldon’t lose sight of the ideal 100% because it does give us something to aim for. As the environment for each survey it is impossible to determine an optimum response rate. Variable factors such as the survey content and the survey respondents mean there are far too many possible factors to create a hard and fast rule. The best piece of advice I can offer is the only way to reduce your non-response bias is to increase your response rate.