7.5. Need to limit data sought, for a high response rate and accurate measurement

Constructing a long and detailed questionnaire offers the survey organisers the opportunity to collect a great deal of useful information from those survey participants who return their questionnaire, but is likely to result in a rather lower response rate than would be desirable, owing to the time and possible difficulty involved in completing it. Few respondents may return the questionnaire and it is likely that amongst those who do, some of the information will be missing. Asking very detailed questions is also likely to result in information being less reliable, as not all beekeepers will recall the details or will not have kept sufficiently detailed records to be able to provide correct information, or be unwilling to take time to find the information requested. Longer, more detailed questionnaires and more complex response options are more likely to be successful in face-to-face surveys, but less so in more modern forms of survey. (In telephone surveys, participants may become impatient with long and complicated surveys with many response options, and are likely to terminate the interview prematurely, so shorter and simpler is best.) Postal and self-administered surveys in general require especially clear questions and response options and should be kept to a manageable length (Schaeffer et al., 1990; Brodschneider et al., 2010). Balancing the desire for more information with simpler questions and a shorter questionnaire is likely to produce a higher response rate and more accurate data.