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Responsive Design and Surveys with Short Time Frames

Another interesting question that I had during the webinar that I recently gave concerned responsive design and surveys with short time frames. I have to say, I mostly work on surveys with relatively long time frames. The shortest data collection that I have worked on in the last few years is about one month.

That's not to say that I think responsive design is not relevant for surveys with short field periods. I think it is. If anything, following the prescribed regimen may be more important. A key aspect of responsive design, in my mind, is that the process is pre-planned. The indicators that are monitored, the decision rules for implementing interventions, the interventions, all have to be pre-planned. In a short survey, this is particularly important as their isn't time for developing ad hoc solutions.

In a former life, I worked on surveys that had field periods of a day or two. In those studies, there wouldn't have been time to meet, discuss, and decide. Given the short time frame, I could imagine that changes would more likely be made at the case level. Groves and Heeringa defined phases as a consistent set of design features over some period of time. In such a short study, rules might have to be specified for actions that are taken at the case level, possibly actions that are automated by sample management systems in CATI surveys or through various email options for web surveys.

I think it would work. I'd be interested to hear about any experiences with studies like this.

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