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Survey response rates in the forest products literature from 2000 to 2015

Formally Refereed
Authors: Matt Bumgardner, Iris Montague, Jan Wiedenbeck
Year: 2017
Type: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Wood and Fiber Science. 49(1): 84-92.


A literature analysis was conducted to synthesize typical response rates from forest-productsindustry- based survey studies published from 2000 to mid-2015. One hundred and ninety-five surveys published in several forest products and forestry journals and proceedings (mostly North American based) were analyzed. Overall, the typical response rate was found to be about 26.0% (median) to 31.6% (mean). The median survey size in terms of number surveyed was 543.0, and the median for responses received was 131.5. Several factors were found to influence response rates and numbers surveyed. The results indicated that response rates were highest for surveys conducted at the regional or international level, that were interview based, and that were geared toward consumers. The majority of the surveys conducted were mail based (79.0%) and were directed at manufacturers (51.8%) followed by loggers (15.4%) and engineers (14.4%). There was no indication that the year of publication had an effect on observed response rates. Most studies reported testing for nonresponse bias (64.4%), with early vs late respondent comparisons being the most common method used. These results can be used as a benchmark for what have been typical response rates for survey-based research in the forest products industry.


Response rate, mail survey, Internet survey, interview survey, nonresponse bias tests


Bumgardner, Matthew; Montague, Iris; Wiedenbeck, Janice. 2017. Survey response rates in the forest products literature from 2000 to 2015. Wood and Fiber Science. 49(1): 84-92.