Research on Respondents’ Response to a Postal Poll

Research leader

Research leader in Serbia: Institute of Social Sciences in cooperation with the Institute of Sociology of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade

Research financier

ESS ERIC Work Programme 2019-2021, ESS ERIC, City, University of London, UK

grayscale photo of organizers with numbers


ESS Push to web “3 country push-to-web / postal recruitment test study”


Methodological experiment


Application of respondent recruitment via sending poll participation invitations via postal service.


Pilot-study implemented as a part of the ESS (European Social Survey) project in Serbia. This is an examination of methodological characteristics of recruiting the representative sample via postal service (invitation sent as a letter) for participation in an online poll. The questionnaire was a shortened version of the standard ESS questionnaire.

The main task of this project was to implement a methodological check of the described method of surveying and to assess potential benefits and shortcomings of possible moving on from the standard ESS to online surveying and sending invitations to respondents via postal service (or in some other way, where applicable).


ESS Push to web (PtW) was realised in three ESS countries, Austria, Hungary and Serbia. The strategy of sampling differed between the countries, where Austria and Serbia used household samples, and Hungary used individual sample.
In Serbia, one adult member was invited from 1,200 randomly selected households. This involved direct recruitment via postal service for the web poll.

The initial contact included a letter of invitation, information concerning the rights of respondents in the research (General Data Protection Regulation), as well as unconditional incentive. After a week, those who had not responded received a reminder. After two weeks, those who had not filled in the questionnaire received the second reminder together with the printed questionnaire and a prepaid return envelope. The duration of the field work differed in each country, due to the variations in the initial date.
All the respondents who participated in any of the phases received a letter of gratitude and a conditional incentive.


The database submitted to the ESS project headquarters in London. The publications that have used the data collected in this research thus far:
Fitzgerald, R., Dillman, D.A., Grand, P., Messing, V. Ratti, V., Sagvari, B., Sibley, E., Stanojević, D. & Todosijević, B. (2021). Responding to the challenges conducting cross-national fieldwork in a pandemic: a 3-country push to web experiment in Europe, AAPOR 76th Annual Conference “Data Collection, Measurement, and Public Opinion during a Pandemic”, Virtual Conference, May 11–14, 2021.

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