The saliency of a topic—that is, its importance or relevance to potential respondents—can affect response patterns to surveys. There are several explanations as to how and why topic saliency affects response rates. First, if a potential respondent believes the topic to be important, he or she may be more likely to rationalize incurring the costs of responding to the survey. Second, responding to a survey topic that is of personal interest may have intrinsic rewards, such as providing an opportunity to exhibit one's knowledge or share one's opinion. Third, responding to a survey about a salient topic may be motivated by perceived direct benefits. Survey participation may be viewed as an opportunity to advance one's own needs, interests, or agenda. All of these explanations may ...
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