Longer interviews may not affect subsequent survey participation propensity

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Public Opinion Quarterly


Peter Lynn

Publication date


Survey researchers often assume that respondent burden is an important determinant of survey participation propensity and that interview length is a good indicator of burden. However, there is surprisingly little evidence of the effect of length of a completed interview on subsequent participation propensity, particularly in the case of face-to-face surveys. This article presents results from a large-scale randomized experiment in which respondents experienced interviews of different lengths at wave 1 of a panel survey. Subsequently, respondents were asked to complete a self-completion questionnaire and then to take part in further waves of the survey. For each of these subsequent tasks, the study compares completion rates between those administered the shorter and those administered the longer version of the wave 1 interview. No evidence is found that wave 1 interview length affects subsequent participation propensity.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com

Volume and page numbers

78, 500-509







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