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Business Surveys in South Africa : testing the ground for Internet-based surveys keeping the impact on response rates in mind. Pieter Laubscher 14 November 2005. Joint EC-OECD Workshop on International Development of Business and Consumer Tendency Surveys. Presentation outline. Introduction

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    1. Business Surveys in South Africa: testing the ground for Internet-based surveys keeping the impact on response rates in mind Pieter Laubscher 14 November 2005 Joint EC-OECDWorkshop on International Development of Business and Consumer Tendency Surveys

    2. Presentation outline • Introduction • The BER panel of respondents • Sectors • Size groups • Regions • The special BER survey: background details • Question1: the current mode of response • Question2: the preferred mode of response • Question3: access to the Internet • Conclusions

    3. Introduction • The Internet medium & BTS / CTS • Obvious advantages: cost & efficiency • Constraints: user “resistance” & access • Improving response rates? • The postal response mode: BER since the 1950s • Engaging the Internet medium: a special BER survey (2005Q1): • The current mode of response • The preferred mode of response • Access to the Internet • What conclusions can we draw regarding the future development of Internet-based surveys at the BER?

    4. The BER panel of respondents

    5. Composition of the BER panel (2005Q1): sectors

    6. Size & sectoral distribution of BER respondents (2005Q1)

    7. Regional distribution of BER respondents (2005Q1)

    8. The special survey: background details

    9. Special questions included in the BER survey (2005Q1) Special survey on preferred response method (Optional) Reason for the special survey The BER depends on you to complete and return the questionnaires in order to conduct the business surveys. With this survey, we wish to find what response method you prefer. Please tick the appropriate boxes. 1. At present, how do you return the questionnaire to us? ⌂ Pre-paid envelope ⌂ Fax ⌂ E-Mail 2. In future, how would you prefer to respond to the questionnaire? ⌂ Pre-paid envelope ⌂ Fax ⌂ Internet 3. How do you connect to the internet at work? ⌂ No access to the internet at work ⌂ Via a dial-up service ⌂ Via a local area network (LAN) 4. Any comments? …………………………………………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………….

    10. Question 1: How do BER participants currently respond?

    11. Current mode of response: sectors

    12. Current mode of response: size groups

    13. Current mode of response: regions

    14. Question 2: What is the preferred mode of response according to BER participants?

    15. Preferred mode of response: sectors

    16. Preferring Internet as mode of response: sectors

    17. Preferred mode of response: size groups

    18. Preferred mode of response: regions

    19. Question 3: BER participants’ access to the Internet

    20. BER participants’ access to the Internet: sectors

    21. BER participants’ access to the Internet: firm size groups

    22. BER participants’ access to the Internet: firm size groups

    23. Conclusions • Close to 30% of BER respondents prefer Internet mode (92% currently use postal mode) • Necessary to develop Internet mode; however, there are pitfalls: • 80% have Internet access, only 28% prefer this mode • Smaller firms face access constraints/ have lower preference for the Internet • Regional / sectoral disparities regarding Internet preference • Imperative to have a mixed survey mode • Gradual transition from postal to Internet/ long process • Relatively small preference for the fax mode • A too aggressive move to the Internet risks damaging response rates • Consistent with international experience • Lower response rates with Internet mode compared to postal mode • Item non-response higher? • Small firms - lower Internet preference / weaker response rate • Different response behaviour: Internet vs. postal? • BER has to be careful regarding development of the Internet mode • Response rates already low by international standards • Additional costs / administrative burden

    24. Bureau for Economic ResearchEconomic information that works for you Website: www.ber.sun.ac.za E-mail: pl@ber.sun.ac.za Tel No: 021-887 2810