Survey Methodology
The promise and challenge of pushing respondents to the Web in mixed-mode surveys

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by Don A. DillmanNote 1

  • Release date: June 22, 2017


Web-push survey data collection that uses mail contact to request responses over the Internet, while withholding alternative answering modes until later in the implementation process, has developed rapidly over the past decade. This paper describes the reasons this innovative mixing of survey contact and response modes was needed, the primary ones being the declining effectiveness of voice telephone and slower than expected development of email/web only data collection methods. Historical and institutional barriers to mixing survey modes in this manner are also discussed. Essential research on the use of U.S. Postal address lists and the effects of aural and visual communication on survey measurement are then described followed by discussion of experimental efforts to create a viable web-push methodology as an alternative to voice telephone and mail response surveys. Multiple examples of current and anticipated web-push data collection uses are provided. This paper ends with a discussion of both the great promise and significant challenge presented by greater reliance on web-push survey methods.

Key Words: Surveys; Mixed-mode; Web-push; Web; Mail; Telephone; Address-based sampling; Visual communication; Response rates; Measurement differences.

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How to cite

Dillman, D.A. (2017). The promise and challenge of pushing respondents to the Web in mixed-mode surveys. Survey Methodology, Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 12‑001‑X, Vol. 43, No. 1. Paper available at


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