Step 4: Invite people to participate

There are a number of things to consider before issuing an invitation to participate in a survey. See below for some tips.

Tips for the initial invitation

  • Use simple, clear language.
  • Explain the purpose of the survey, and what the data will be used for.
  • Specify whether the survey is voluntary (they usually are).
  • Outline the importance of the evaluation, including the value to them as an individual, as well as to the wider community of interest.
  • Provide enough detail so that participants can make and an informed decision about whether or not they want to take part in the study. (Follow the link to ethical conduct in evaluation below for more on this.)
  • Be realistic about the likely time commitment, should they decide to become involved.
  • Be positive and appreciative. Thank people in advance.
  • Provide contact details for inquiries.

Reminders and extensions

People tend to complete surveys either:

  • straight away, or at least within 24 hours of receiving the initial invitation
  • immediately after being prompted by a reminder
  • just before the cut-off date.

When planning a survey fieldwork period, factor in:

  • at least one reminder before the due date
  • a buffer/extension period after the cut-off date, in case you need it.

If possible, only send reminders to those who are yet to respond. Reminders should always be courteous and appreciative of people’s time. A reminder should:

  • start by thanking those who have already responded
  • include the initial survey invitation, if the invitation and reminder are sent as emails
  • highlight the importance of the survey, and how the data will be used.
  • remind people of the estimated time required and the cut-off date.
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