Finite Response Windows for Self-Administered Surveys

Last registered on August 09, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Finite Response Windows for Self-Administered Surveys
Initial registration date
August 04, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 09, 2022, 4:33 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Innovations for Poverty Action

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Innovations for Poverty Action

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Empirical social sciences increasingly rely on data derived from sefl-administered web (SAW) surveys, but such survey modes suffer from low response rates. Understanding survey respondent behavior is critical to finding successful ways to increase response rates and improve data quality. There is a gap in the research literature in particular on the role of procrastination and commitment devices in respodnents' decisions to complete surveys in a timely fashion.

This study is a survey protocol experiment designed to test whether self-administered web surveys can achieve higher response rates by asking respondents to commit to a specific narrow window of time instead of the full data collection period. For example, would respondents be more likely to compete a survey if they were given a particular day and a three-hour time slot within which to complete (and an option to reschedule) instead of a one--week window?

Study subjects, 331 participants in an RCT on job training for survey enumerators, are randomly assigned to either be given a long window or a narrow window with a specific appointment time (3-hour period on a given day) to complete the survey by web. For the narrow window group, the link is only active for the specified period. For subjects in the other treatment arm, they are only given an end date and may access the survey at any time. The study's outcome is survey completion.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Glazerman, Steven and Tanzila Tabassum. 2022. "Finite Response Windows for Self-Administered Surveys." AEA RCT Registry. August 09.
Experimental Details


The intervention is the size of window for completing the survey, small or large. This is an A/B test of two alternative survey protocols. The idea for a shorter window originally arose from a technical limitation on the number of respondents who could be on the server at a given time. In an earlier survey round, this method seemed to produce high response rates, so once that technical barrier was lifted and we did not need to assign short windows, we decided to implement the current experimental test, to see whether the artificial constraint would lead to better outcomes than an unconstrained/open-ended request to complete the survey.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Survey completion rate
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Given that this is a survey experiment built into the endline survey for another RCT, all targeted sample members should be eligible, so the completion rate and response rate should be the same. However, a pre-survey outreach classified each sample member based on their self-reported willingness and ability to participate based on their available time and access to the internet. This may be used to trim the sample for select analyses.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Respondent collusion: Another motivation for using the finite time slots is to reduce the possibility that study subjects interact with each other and influence each others' responses to survey questions, particularly knowledge questions. It is rare, but possible that survey respondents are members of the same family. We will analyze study outcomes within each window and compare across windows for the finite window treatment group to look for evidence of collusion on survey questions.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Study subjects randomized within treatment arm to one of two groups:

Group A. Given a specific 3-hour appointment window to complete the survey. Respondents in this group are randomized to one of three possible windows.

Group B. Given the survey link and asked to complete any time during the one-week survey period.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization built into SurveyCTO software.
Randomization Unit
Individual respondents
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Not a clustered design
Sample size: planned number of observations
331 Respondents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
165 in Group A
166 in Group B
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE is 4.9 percentage points, assuming base response rate of 80%.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
15771 (for main study, not embedded survey experiment, approval date is the date of amendment approval)


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials