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Advance Research Methods:
Let us now consider exactly what is meant by ‘sampling error’: We can say that there are two types of non-response partial non-response and total non-response. ‘Partial non-response implies that the respondent refuses to answer some of the questions. On the other hand, ‘total non-response implies that the respondent refuses to answer any of the questions. Of course, the problem of late returns and non-response of the kind that I have just mentioned occurs in the case of HUMAN populations. Although the refusal of sample units to cooperate is encountered in interview surveys, it is far more of a problem in mail surveys.
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It is not uncommon to find the response rate to mail questionnaires as low as 15 or 20%. The provision of INFORMATION ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF THE SURVEY helps in stimulating interest, thus increasing the chances of greater response. Particularly if it can be shown that the work will be to the ADVANTAGE of the respondent IN THE LONG RUN.
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How long the process of data collection should be continued? Obviously, no such process can be carried out for an
indefinite period of time! In fact, the longer the time period over which the survey is conducted, the greater will be the potential VARIATIONS in attitudes and opinions of the respondents. Hence, a well-defined cut-off date generally needs to be established. Let us now look at the various ways in which we can select a sample from our population.
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But in spite of these ways of reducing non-response, we are bound to have some amount of non-response.
Hence, a decision has to be taken about how many RECALLS should be made. The term ‘recall’ implies that we approach the respondent more than once in order to persuade him to respond to our queries.