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Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 2nd Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471323549
ISBN-10: 0471323543
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Editorial Reviews


"I would recommend this book to anyone involved in the design of postal surveys. The relevant chapters give useful guidance to improve the quality of the questions and the layout of self-completion questionnaires. In addition, the clear organisation of the sections in the book makes it ideal for finding clear well-written advice for specific queries." (Survey Methods Newsletter, Vol 20/2, 2000)

From the Back Cover


For nearly two decades, Don Dillman's Mail and Telephone Surveys and the Total Design Method it outlined has aided students and professionals in effectively planning and conducting surveys. But much has changed since the TDM was developed in 1978. Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method, Second Edition, thoroughly revised and updated by the author from his classic text, addresses these changes and introduces a new paradigm that responds to the recent developments that affect the conduct and success of surveys.

In this new edition, Dillman introduces a new paradigm called "Tailored Design,"which expands TDM to account for-and take advantage of-innovations such as computers, electronic mail, and the World Wide Web; theoretical advancements; mixed-mode considerations; the increasing acceptance of self-administered surveys; our better understanding of specific survey requirements; and an improved base of social science knowledge. As insightful and practical as its classic original, Mail and Internet Surveys, Second Edition is a crucial resource for any researcher seeking to increase response rates and obtain high-quality feedback from mail, electronic, and other self-administered surveys.

Topics covered include:Writing Questions and Constructing the QuestionnaireMixed-Mode SurveysPersonal Delivery of QuestionnairesSurveying When Speed Is CriticalGovernment Surveys of Households and IndividualsBusiness SurveysInternet and Interactive Voice Response SystemsQuestionnaires That Can Be Scanned and Imaged

DON A. DILLMAN is well known and highly regarded in the survey field. He is Professor of Sociology and Rural Sociology at Washington State University, senior scientist for the Gallup Organization, and previously served as Senior Survey Methodologist at the U.S. Bureau of the Census. He is a frequent presenter of seminars and workshops on survey design. His previous books include How to Conduct Your Own Survey and Against All Odds: Rural Community in the Information Age.

Praise for the previous edition . . .

"Required reading for anyone who wants to diversify research procedures."
-Contemporary Psychology

"An excellent reference tool and valuable addition to any serious practitioner's library."
-Public Relations Journal

"The book is packed with practical suggestions that cover each task in designing andimplementing a survey."
-Social Forces



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (December 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471323543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471323549
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,617,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you who do survey research and struggle with getting an acceptible response rate, this is the book for you. It truly is an amazing resource for a method that can get one to near a 75% response even on mail-only surveys. Highly recommended.
For those of you looking for any help on statistics, this is NOT the book for you.
For those of you interested in increasing the validity and reliability of your surveys, this is could be the book for you. It does have an effective treatment of writing questions and effective survey design.
If you wish to become an expert in coverage, sample frames, sampling, etc, look elsewhere. That topic gets just 10 pages.
No book can do it all of course but I would have left out some of the "fluff" chapters Dillman included for some discussion of the more technical side of the statistics of analyzing surveys after you have designed them the way he suggests.
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Format: Hardcover
Dillman's text was the classic for so long that many of us think of him as the guru of survey research. I would guess that is why the Census Bureau hired him as their lead consultant for the 2000 Census.
As has been pointed out, Dillman does not present as much theoretical material as he might. But, I don't think that that detracts from the strengths of this book. There are other books out there that cover the cognitive and social psychology behind survey answers, and there are other books that give you guidance on the scientific method, experimental design, sampling, etc. (I would recommend Babbie's Practice of Social Research) And Dillman even has a more hands-on book (How to Conduct Your Own Survey) for non-scientists.
But, the real strength of Dillman's book might be how well he instructs on how to put together a great questionnaire - the design, layout, order, question design and implementation.
I find his take on internet surveys to be controversial and a little out-of-date. But, my concerns might be viewed as those of a skeptic - I'm not yet convinced that internet surveys are viable for all that many situations. And, I think Dillman does a good job of laying out some of the challenges and promises of internet surveys.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have close to 20 years of experience in market research; yet with the move that many are making to conducting their research over the Internet, I knew I needed to get a lot of learning quickly, in order to better understand the trade-offs being made between cost savings and research quality. Dillman's book fills that need. Building on an earlier edition, which focused on the issues surrounding interviewing by mail, Dillman confronts issues surrounding lack of randomness, need for clarity in a self-administered-survey world, and issues of internet coverage, in drawing conclusions. Also, he has a very helpful discussion on the issues surrounding combining data collected through different methodologies at once. Dillman also discusses the need to recruit within the context of a social exchange; we are, after all, collecting information with the respondent's approval, and our generalizations are stronger when we have a good sampling plan and can maximize co-operation.
Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
Well, this may be "the book" when it comes to surveys, but it still lacks a lot. First, I found the chapters on writing questions and organizing a questionnaire to be very useful. However, it looks like the author only added a couple chapters about Internet surveys, instead of reviewing his decades-old book in terms of the impact of the Internet. For example, I don't find it particularly useful to discuss how to fold a survey, or how to distribute it by mail, when it's being administered on-line!
Furthermore, this book is lacking any real scientific methodology. I suspect this is a result of the nature of the field, but survey designers should at least try to employ some good experimental design approaches. For example, this book does not help me at all to ensure that the survey actually gives me information that I need. While he does give information on writing interpretable questions, he has no recommendations on how to determine the goals of the survey, how to design questions that will address those goals, how to arrange questions in the survey to ensure good data that addresses those goals, etc. And what about statistical accuracy, and how certain types of questions are easier to measure? Any suggestions on how to evaluate free-response questions? Why isn't there an entire chapter on "How to avoid bias and inaccuracy in responses", instead of having suggestions scattered around the text?
This book has a lot of useful sociological hints on how to increase the response rate from a population. However, this isn't the most important aspect of surveys---it sorely lacks the scientific basis for the design and evaluation of the "experiment" that is the survey. Without this, it doesn't matter how many people respond, because the data will be useless.
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By A Customer on April 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dillman is the authority on survey methodology, and this book contains a wealth of information on survey construction, administration, etc. He also includes information on the use of internet surveys, and thankfully stresses their weaknesses. As with other areas, this book stresses the design and not the nuts-and-bolts needed. It won't teach you how to write an HTML form, but it won't teach you how to run a word processor either. It will teach you how to create effective surveys that can maximize your return rate, along with proper administration.
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