Increasing Survey Response in Your District—Understand Motivations

The critical ingredient for a successful survey project is a motivated group of parents and students.  There are some parents who are naturally motivated to answer a survey and eager to share their opinions.  Others are less motivated or less interested.  So how do you motivate ALL parents and students to participate in your survey?  In this first of a series of posts, I will discuss a way to think about this motivation problem.

I.  Determine the Cost vs. the Benefit

The study of human motivation has a long history in the fields of psychology and economics.  One way of looking at motivation is the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA).  Your school district may already undergo a careful, deliberate process of examining the costs and the expected benefits of a course of action.

Most districts make decisions by comparing costs and anticipating benefits.   Costs are usually identified as money, time and other material or human resources.  Benefits are generally measured as improved student achievement and reputation.  After careful planning, school districts should launch a survey when the anticipated benefits are greater than the costs.

II.  Understand Individual Decisions

We can also use CBA to understand decisions made by individuals.  While a person may or may not deliberately compare costs and benefits, his or her views of costs and benefits may alter that person’s behavior and even increase motivation.

How can you specifically alter the CBA framework so it can be applied to understanding a parent’s motivation to answer your survey? Read my next post!

Author: Dr. Russ

Senior Director of Research

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