Trade-Association Endorsements, Postal & Online Responses, and Other Factors Affecting Response Rates: Reflections on a Survey of Micro-Firms

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Researchers using survey-based methods must do everything they can to enhance their response rates in order to improve the robustness and validity of the data they collect for analysis. Extant literature has explored several techniques to do this across many contexts, including experiments/meta-analyses. This paper addresses two particular deficits by considering the difficult context of micro-firms and also the impact of trade-association endorsement (rather than sponsorship). This is done by conducting an in-depth ex-post review of a single, successful survey case conducted and utilised in a study of English tourism firms and regulation. We explore several factors: the type of trade-association support (including levels of endorsement, access to member firms, and messages sent on behalf of the research team); postal versus online questionnaires; message type/frequency; and the importance of giving respondents an opportunity for open comments. The paper ends with a comprehensive set of suggestions for future researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
JournalElectronic Journal of Business Research Methods (EJBRM)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank all of the survey respondents, and those who helped in the refinement and distribution of the survey, including: David Weston at the Bed and Breakfast Association; Andy Woodward at Farm Stay UK; Martin Couchman and Julia Svetlosakova at the British Hospitality Association; Sharron Orrell and Jane Darragh at VisitEngland; Gen? Jeffrey at BedPosts; Jamie Hurst at The National Caravan Council; Gregory Yeoman at the Tourism Society; and Ros Pritchard at the British Holiday and Home Parks Association. The responsibility for the work, however, remains entirely with the authors.


  • survey methods
  • response rate
  • online questionnaires
  • trade-associations
  • endorsement
  • sponsorship


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