Limitations Of Mail Survey:


(1) Problem of “No replies”: “No replies” is one major disadvantage of mail survey. Respondents do not take interest in the survey work and do not send the replies. Very few give positive response to the questionnaire. Others send replies only when reminder is sent. Many others do not send replies at all. Some others give incomplete response by not answering all questions asked. Thus,poor response to mail questionnaire (High non-response rate) is one important disadvantage of mail survey.

(2) Updated mailing list required: For mail survey, up-to-date and comprehensive mailing list covering cross section of the society is necessary. The researcher may not have such accurate list of respondents at the state or national level. This affects the area covered by the survey.

(3) Poor response, if questionnaire is defective: Questionnaire acts as a base of mail survey.The response will be limited if the questionnaire is too lengthy or if it contains difficult and confusing questions. Sometimes, busy persons ask their assistants to give replies. This affects the quality of mail survey conducted.

(4) Lacks accuracy of information: In mail survey method  the researcher cannot verify theaccuracy of the information given by the respondents as he has no control on the respondents. There may be inconsistency/ambiguity in the answers given. The researcher has to accept or reject the information supplied.

(5) Limited use: Mail survey method is of limited use in qualitative study or in causative research.. For probing psychological motivation, mail survey method is not suitable.

(6) Effects of ambiguous questions: There is a possibility that some questions may not be understand by large majority of respondents. This may be due to ambiguity in the questions asked. As a result, the respondents may not give answer or may give answer which may not be correct or relevant. This affects the final outcome of the survey.

(7) Changes in questions not possible: It is rather impossible to amend the approach or questions or their wordings once the questionnaire is issued to the respondents. This brings rigidity in the survey work. Required information about certain aspects of the survey may not be available if the questions asked are confusing.

(8) Not suitable when quick information is required: Mail survey is not convenient when the researcher needs information quickly i.e. within two or three days. Mail survey is normally a time consuming activity. In addition, postal delays are quite common.

(9) Non-verbal responses are not noted: It is not possible to gather non-verbal responses in the case of mail survey. The benefit of personal observation by the interviewer is also not available.

(10) Not suitable for spontaneous answers: Mail survey is not suitable when the researcher is interested in the spontaneous answers from the respondents.


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