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The last response from the email to Psyche-L and Psyche-D came in on March 3, 1996. 336 responses were received in all, from a mailing list of 2800 participants. This is a response rate of 12% which is not unusual for Internet-based surveys where there is no overt inducement for completion or personalised follow-up. There is as yet little documented experience of response ratios to surveys administered over the Internet. Anderson and Gansneder reported that in their review of the literature that researchers reported response rates between 41% and 76% when administering surveys via email [Anderson&Gansneder1995]. Many of the studies they cite are now some years old and date from the time when email was something of a novelty. There is some anecdotal evidence that professionals of all categories are suffering from 'survey fatigue' with longitudinal researchers in the Information Systems field reporting steadily dropping response rates.
Of the 336 responses to this survey, 314 came directly from subscribers to either of the mailing lists. The remaining 22 were from people who had the survey instrument forwarded to them or who had found the on-line version while searching the Web for Psyche-related topics. For this reason, all the responses have been grouped together and analysed as a block. Of the 336 responses, 332 were received by email. Of the remaining four, three were printed out and mailed in. One was faxed in.Respondents seem to have found it easy to complete and return the survey instrument. Nearly one third of the responses came within the first two days.
Because the overwhelming majority of Psyche responses were in the form of email it was possible to do some analysis of the geographical distribution of the respondents. Of the four print responses, it was possible to assign a domain to three of them.Table 7-1shows an initial division into US domains, and then all other countries. The.us domain was only associated with k12.xx.us email addresses in this survey. Outside the US, only countries with more than 5 respondents have been listed separately. Australia is noteworthy for having the second-largest non-US contingent, despite Canada's larger population. The 52 aggregated responses included respondents from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
The overall response rate for the print survey was 702 responses from 2580 survey instruments which is 27.2%. This is quite acceptable for a one-shot survey with no follow-up and no inducement to respond.
The response rate differed quite markedly by society. For the American Psychological Association (APA), the response rate was 24.3%, with a total of 486 APA responses received. For the U.K. British Psychological Society (BPS), the response rate was 35.8%, with a total of 129 BPS responses received. For the Australian Psychological Society (APS), the response rate was 39.5%, with a total of 87 APS responses received. This may reflect a greater exposure to surveys (of all sorts) in the U.S. and hence a greater reluctance to take part.
Table 7-2 shows the number and percentage of surveys received in each print subgroup as well as the email survey.
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