Step 4: Invite people to participate
There are a number of things to consider before issuing an invitation to participate in a survey.
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.
- 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.