This paper examines current theories of survey response behaviour, namely social exchange, cognitive dissonance, self-perception and commitment/involvement using a two-phased approach. A laboratory-type experiment (administered as a survey) and a field experiment were conducted to examine the relationship between survey participation and the major survey response theories that have been proposed to explain that participation and mode of survey data collection. The results suggest that there is a significant association between the survey response theories and survey participation. Exchange theory appears to be the basis of the most prevalent appeal followed by commitment/involvement, cognitive dissonance and self-perception, respectively. A higher response rate was found for personal interview followed by telephone interview and then by mail survey. However, the response rate of the field experiment was much smaller than the results obtained from a laboratory-type experiment with simulated survey appeals, a not totally unexpected finding.
POON, S. C. P., ALBAUM, G., & EVANGELISTA, F. U. (2004). Why people respond to surveys : a theory-based study of Hong Kong respondents. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 16(2), 75-90. https://doi.org/10.1300/J046v16n02_05