Responders vs. Non-Responders to a Mail Survey: Are They Different?

One of the major methods of data collection used in both formative and outcome evaluations and descriptive studies is the survey method. With survey methods, the issues of generalizability and representativeness of the data are crucial, particularly when response rates are low. A common survey method is the use of mailed questionnaires, however, even when care is taken to select potential respondents randomly, the validity of the responses depends on the willingness of all sectors of the population to respond.