How to Get People to Take Your Dissertation Survey | Top Universities

How to Get People to Take Your Dissertation Survey

By Craig O

Updated April 6, 2021 Updated April 6, 2021

Without a doubt, it’s the worst part of writing a dissertation. Some might try and argue that writing out all your references is worse, but at least you can lock yourself away for that and avoid the outside world until it’s over. When it comes to getting responses for your dissertation survey, hiding from everybody else isn’t an option. You actually have to *shudder* ask people for help.

Persuading strangers to lend you a helping hand and spend loads of time filling in your survey is, unsurprisingly, not straightforward. Sure, you can start by asking friends and family instead, but even they won’t all agree to help you. Worse still, some of them will lie and say they’ve done it even though you both know they really couldn’t be bothered.

So, you’re stuck, relying completely on the kindness of strangers. Fortunately, there are ways to sweeten the deal and make taking your dissertation survey a more attractive proposition to people you’ve never met before. If your response rate is embarrassingly low and your sample size needs a boost, try some of these tricks.

Grab a tablet and stop people around campus

The problem with sending people a link to your survey over Facebook is you’ve really got no way of knowing if that person ever bothers to click on it. Skip the uncertainty by taking your survey out around campus, pre-loaded on a tablet which you can pass to people.

Approaching strangers around campus might be a bit daunting, so team up with a friend. Pick somewhere busy like the library or a popular lunch spot and try to get people’s attention as they walk past. If you’re still struggling to get people to take the time to complete your survey, consider buying a big bag of cheap sweets or other rewards you can hand out to people as a thank you.

Post about your survey in our forums

Our forums are full of thousands of students from around the world, many of whom are also looking for survey respondents for their dissertation. Register for the site (don’t worry, it’s free) and join the conversations people are already having about their dissertation surveys.

Join a dissertation survey exchange group on Facebook

Another quick way to find people online who can take your dissertation survey is via Facebook and other social media networks. There are several pre-existing groups on Facebook (such as this one) which allow students to exchange survey links. You’ll have to take other people’s surveys as well as just posting your own, but it’s a small price to pay for a vital boost in respondents.

Offer a prize to one lucky respondent

Admittedly, this idea will cost you a bit of money as you’ll probably have to buy whatever prize you offer, but it could be an effective way to incentivize your lazier friends to lend you a hand. Pick a prize which is affordable but also genuinely desirable. A good idea would be to speak to local businesses which are popular with students (e.g. bars and restaurants) and see if they have any vouchers or deals you could offer the winner. Once you’ve got a prize, promote your survey on the condition that one respondent will be chosen at random to win the prize.

To increase your chances of getting lots of responses, make it clear that people must also share a link to your survey on social media to be entered into the prize draw. This should help you get people taking part who aren’t just your friends.

Do it over the phone

If you don’t require the responses you receive to be anonymous, try calling friends and family up and asking them questions over the phone. Often, people will ignore a link to a survey when they see it online but they’ll be more receptive if you start asking them questions as part of a normal conversation. The only worry is that they might not answer as truthfully as they would if it was anonymous.

This article was originally published in April 2017 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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