The long-term effectiveness of refusal conversion procedures on longitudinal surveys
Survey organizations often attempt to ‘convert’ sample members who refuse to take part in a survey. Persuasive techniques are used in an effort to change the refusers’ minds and to agree to an interview. This is done to improve the response rate and, possibly, to reduce non-response bias. However, refusal conversion attempts are expensive and must be justified. Previous studies of the effects of refusal conversion attempts are few and have been restricted to cross-sectional surveys. The criteria for ‘success’ of a refusal conversion attempt are different in a longitudinal survey, where for many purposes the researcher requires complete data over multiple waves. The paper uses data from the British Household Panel Survey from 1994 to 2003 to assess the long-term effectiveness of refusal conversion procedures in terms of sample sizes, sample composition and data quality.