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Respondent Burden

Edited by: Published: 2008
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The degree to which a survey respondent perceives participation in a survey research project as difficult, time consuming, or emotionally stressful is known as respondent burden. Interview length, cognitive complexity of the task, required respondent effort, frequency of being interviewed, and the stress of psychologically invasive questions all can contribute to respondent burden in survey research. The researcher must consider the effects of respondent burden prior to administering a survey instrument, as too great an average burden will yield lower-quality data and is thereby counterproductive.

Mechanisms that researchers may use to minimize respondent burden include pretesting, time testing, cognitive interviewing, and provision of an incentive. With pretesting, cognitive interviewing, and debriefing of respondents (and sometimes of interviewers as well) after the completion of the pretest, a ...

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