Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Dakota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Gigliotti, L.M., and A. Dietsch. 2014. Does age matter? The influence of age on response rates in a mixed-mode survey. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 19:280-287.


The appeal of cost savings and faster results has fish and wildlife management agencies considering the use of Internet surveys instead of traditional mail surveys to collect information from their constituents. Internet surveys, however, may suffer from differential age-related response rates, potentially producing biased results if certain age groups respond to Internet surveys differently than they do to mail surveys. We examined this concern using data from a mixed-mode angler survey conducted in South Dakota following the 2011 fishing season. Results indicated that young anglers (16–18) had the lowest return rates and senior anglers (65+) had the highest, regardless of survey mode. Despite this consistency in response rates, we note two concerns: 1) lower Internet response rates and 2) different age groups represented by the Internet and mail survey samples differed dramatically. Findings indicate that constituent groups may be represented differently with the use of various survey modes.