Leverage-saliency theory, as first proposed by Robert M. Groves and his colleagues in 2000, is a unifying theory to help explain survey nonresponse, with the goal of helping to identify strategies to counter nonresponse.

Nonresponse is a critical challenge to survey research. Those who do not respond to surveys (or to parts of questionnaires) may differ in important ways from those who do respond. Leverage-saliency theory attempts to describe the underpinnings of individual behavior related to the individual's choosing to cooperate or not to cooperate with a survey request. The theory posits that different people place a different level of importance to various attributes associated with a survey request. These attributes are like weights on a scale, tipping the scale to the sample person either acceding ...

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