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Title "What a waste of time!" vs "Why not participate?" On sentiments by business respondents on social media
Workshop Workshop 2012
Year 2012
Abstract

When conducting a business survey, initially the communication goes one way: the survey is introduced commonly by use of an advance letter. This letter informs the selected businesses about the survey, where to find the questionnaire (in case of an online questionnaire or a paper questionnaire is included in the envelope), when the data are due, and where to get additional information (e.g. by contacting the helpdesk and/or on a special website with FAQs). Directors-owners or managers may discuss these surveys at business meetings. Nowadays, however, face-to-face contacts are no longer necessary: the internet offers a new way of communication among business respondents: social media, like Twitter and chat boxes. These social media offer possibilities for everyone to utter their views and opinions on everything that keeps one busy. So, also the sentiments by businesses with regard to their participation in business surveys.

An exploratory search on the internet shows that these media are used in this way. Two examples:

 “Today I got a letter by CBS. They want me to complete an on-line questionnaire. The letter says that it is required by law. Is it really? I don’t want to waste my time on this.”

 “Why not participate? Thanks to the information we provide, CBS can publish a lot of relevant market information which is available for free.”

Statistics Netherlands has the opportunity to analyse these data using a huge data base (as managed by the Dutch Tax Office). These data will be analysed from the perspective of these sentiments. We have a number of research questions:

 What is the size of these communications on social media?

 What are the sentiments? What kind of views and opinions are uttered: are the negative or positive in nature?

 Do the number and contents of sentiments vary with the mail-out and reminding dates of surveys?

 What kinds of arguments are used in these utterances that make them participate?

 How do these utterances relate to theories on persuasion, motivation and resistance?

The general goal of these analyses is to get better insights in the arguments used by businesses in their role as participant in a survey. These insights help to better address resistance, motivate and facilitate them by means of the survey communication strategy and data collection instruments. Eventually, these analyses may result in a web care facility, which goal is twofold:

 Addressing questions and problems at once;

 Monitoring what is going on in real time, i.e. keeping a finger on the pulse.

The first goal is a task of the helpdesk, and shows that, even if a survey organisation is not addressed directly the problems of respondents are taken seriously. The second goal is aimed at implementing a responsive survey design.

In the presentation a number of results will be shown. At the time of writing this abstract, these analyses still have to be conducted.

 

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