Experts provide advice on how to handle no response in social science research

Gary Briers, professor of agricultural education

In the world of social science research, it is important for researchers to conduct effective assessments and form competent evaluations in order to address both local and global issues of communities.

But if these same researchers fail to attract usable responses from their survey audience, they are unable to provide solid solutions to real-world problems.

In an article titled Handling Nonresponse in Social Science Research, faculty in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications recommend three procedures for handling nonresponse: 1) Comparing early to late respondents, 2) using “days to respond” to determine possible trends and 3) comparing respondents to nonrespondents.

The article, published in the Journal of Agricultural Education, has been cited more than 700 times by researchers in their fields of study and others.

Gary Briers, professor of agricultural education, is one of the article’s three authors. He contributes the article’s popularity to the fact that he and his colleagues address a common issue encountered by researchers.

“As researchers, we have a job to do, but sometimes, our surveyed audience needs a little more coaxing to help us flesh out the answers,” Briers said. “We’ve found that persistence—such as a simple follow-up email message or phone call—may result in the additional feedback we’re after.”

Read the full journal article here.

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