Australian Bureau of Statistics
1530.0 - ABS Forms Design Standards Manual, 2010
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2010 First Issue
|Page tools: Print Page Print All RSS Search this Product|
Pre-approach letters are used for both new and continuing surveys. They are mailed to respondents in the weeks prior to despatch of the survey form. Their primary role is to alert the respondent to the imminent arrival of the survey form and motivate compliance.
Pre-approach letters that collect contact details are called induction letters, which are described in Survey Letters-Induction Letters. Survey managers generally take advantage of being able to collect the correct contact details of the respondent, therefore, induction letters are more commonly used than pre-approach letters in the ABS.
Nonetheless, a pre-approach letter alone is still an excellent opportunity for survey managers of new collections to obtain important unit information which may not match current information on the frame. Even the act of mailing the pre-approach letter is useful because it will determine the number of 'return to senders' (RTSs). The potential cost savings of not sending a form to these RTSs can be huge. Not only will the survey manager save time and money by not sending a form to those addresses, the frame can be up-dated and the resources saved can be redirected to Intensive Follow-up (IFU) to improve response rates and data quality.
For letter details common to all letters, see Survey Letters-Common Content. The remainder of this document deals with the areas specific to pre-approach letters.
Pre-approach letters are short, standard letters that briefly describe the purpose of the collection, when the form will arrive and often the due date for the survey form's return. This letter is a good opportunity to raise the respondent's motivation to comply by presenting the ABS as an approachable and helpful organisation (freecall number provided) which collects information to help inform important decision making which has the potential to affect the respondent.
The difference between a pre-approach letter for new providers and continuing providers is that the continuing providers are thanked for their previous co-operation. This should be done within the first two paragraphs of the letter.
Example of pre-approach letter
Units selected in the new Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) remain in the survey for five years, with the data contributing to the ABS's Business Longitudinal Database (LBD). Respondents are more likely to comply with a request for information if they have done so in the past (principle of consistency), so encouraging initial response to this survey was very important. This pre-approach letter was mailed to all respondents, which also helped to uncover the return to senders (RTSs) before the live survey.
This page last updated 27 January 2010
Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.