Encouraging the Use of Alternative Modes of Electronic Data Collection: Results of Two Field Studies

Kathy Downey, Dee McCarthy, and William McCarthy


In an attempt to lower postage, processing costs, and printing costs, as well as increase Internet usage, BLS performed two different data collection tests. The tests were conducted during 2005 and 2006 for the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. For these tests, BLS did not mail the usual 12-page survey booklet to the establishments in the test groups. Instead, a 4-page booklet that described how to report via the Internet or email was mailed (“electronic options booklet“). Results showed that the Internet response rate increased with the mailing of the reporting options booklet instead of the standard 12-page survey booklet. Also, data processing time decreased when respondents used the Internet or e-mail for reporting. However, the overall response rate decreased when respondents used electronic options for reporting data. Further field studies are planned to explore these results.