Mail Survey in Social Research

303703_Print.inddAlana Henninger and Hung-En Sung (2012). Mail Survey in Social Research, in Lior Gideon (Editor), Handbook of Survey Methodology for the Social Sciences, pp. 297-311. New York: Springer.

This chapter begins with a concise overview of the long history of the use of mail survey in the Western civilization. Then it examines the three main stages in the administration of mail survey: pre-notification, the survey packet, and the follow-up correspondence. The design of the basic components such as the outer envelope, the cover letter, the questionnaire, the return of the survey, and the assembly of the survey packet is discussed at length. A review of the methodological literature provides the basis for an empirical review of the strengths and weaknesses of this data collection method and related issues of validity and reliability. The entire presentation is aimed at providing a set of practical and tested guidelines for the planning and implementation of effective mail survey.