SoSci Survey
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Optimize your E-Mail-Invitations

Potential participants of a survey are often invited via email. Depending on the content of this invitation the response can differ largely.

Tip: Keep the invitation mail short! Long texts raise the expectation of long and boring questionnaires and will drive away potential participants.

Change the perspective

Often you see a text like:

Dear recipient,

I am a student at the [Name of the institute]. 
I am currently writing my bachelor thesis about [hardly understandable topic] 
with [Name of the professor]. Within my study I conduct a survey concerning 
[description of the target group]. 

At first sight this might sound appealing - but it will only get a few people to participate.

Why not? Because it does not take the perspective of the recipient. The text is completely I-centered. It does not address what the recipient wants at all. Furthermore it implies a lot of pre-knowledge, e.g. what the institute is about and who this professor is. Furthermore, the target group is mostly irrelevant to the recipient, deciding if he or she is willing to keep on reading. Therefore, the following version is trying to evoke interest and progression within the recipient:

Dear recipient,

at the [Name of the University] we are conducting a scientific study 
concerning [briefly state the topic in an easy understandable way]. 
Within my thesis I would like to invite you to take part in an 
interesting interview. 

Of cause it doesn’t hurt to be overly friendly:

Dear recipient,
we would love to invite you, to take part in a study concerning 
[shortly state the topic] – no matter how often and gladly you engage in 
[possibly expected grounds for exclusion].
We would very much appreciate, if you take [duration] minutes of your time, 
to fill out the following questionnaire:

Further Information

It is important to name an honest estimation of the time it takes to fill out the questionnaire, nobody enjoys (negative) surprises.

The text of the E-Mail can also include further reasons for the recipient to participate, like:

  • The study is part of an international research group of the [University] and the [University].
  • We would like to thank you for your participation and will invite you to take part in a lottery for [number] 20 € gift vouchers at the end of the survey.
  • This study is supported by the Ministry of Education and Science.
  • Your responses will of cause be saved anonymously and treated with confidentiality.

You should conclude the E-Mail with your Name, University/Organization and (short) contact information.

en/survey/invitation.txt · Last modified: 19.04.2013 09:55 by j_moel16
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