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

Gigliotti, L. M., and K. R. Henderson. 2015. Reasons anglers did not respond to an internet survey and evaluation of data quality. Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science 94:155-170.


Natural resource management agencies have traditionally used statewide mail surveys to gather information from anglers, but cost savings and faster returns occur using the internet. This study examined mail or internet fishery survey return rates and associated data by license type of South Dakota resident anglers. Junior anglers (ages 16-18; Junior Combination license) had the lowest internet and mail survey return rates (20% and 28%, respectively), followed by adult anglers (ages 19-64; Adult Fishing and Adult Combination licenses;30% and 39%, respectively), and senior anglers (ages 65+; Senior Fishing and Senior Combination licenses;42% and 66%, respectively). The three age groups were significantly different on three email use characteristics (shared email, frequency of use, and comfort level). The primary reason for not responding to the internet survey was not receiving or noticing the email request, and secondarily, being too busy to respond. Although having a relatively low response rate, data collected by the internet compared to follow-up mail surveys of internet non-respondents were similar.