Elgar original reference
Edited by Mélanie E. Hassett and Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki
Vignette: Nonresponse in longitudinal research: charting the terrain
One major issue in collecting longitudinal data in organizations is non-response. In virtually all organizational research, there is a difference between the number of people selected for inclusion in the study and those who actually provide (useful) data – with the latter number always being lower than the first. This is a serious problem, in that nonresponse may be non-random (selective). That is, it is very possible that responders differ considerably from nonresponders on demographic variables such as age and gender, their interest in the topic of the study, and – most importantly – their scores on the study variables as well as the associations among these (Marcus and Schutz 2005; Newman and Sin 2009; Taris 2000, for discussions). Consequently, the conclusions of studies with a high percentage of nonresponders are often considered as being somewhat suspicious and in need of replication, and may be difficult to publish, even if the overall sample size is still considerable. Researchers are therefore often reminded of the need to invest much effort in achieving high response rates, for example by sending reminders, giving presents or rewards to those participating in a study (Rose et al. 2007), or minimizing participants’ costs of participation in the study (e.g., by using short questionnaires, see Laurie 2008, or by using planned missing data designs, Palmer and Royall 2010; Rhemtulla and Little, Chapter 3 in this volume).
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