The third edition of Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys is the definitive guide to designing and implementing self-administered surveys. Anyone interested in conducting survey research would benefit from owning this book.
The book covers phone, mail, and web surveys and includes evidence-based instructions on how to maximize response rates. The authors also discuss common problems that one encounters when designing and implementing surveys and how to overcome them. Each section contains high-quality, black and white examples of survey pages and letters to respondents that can be used as models for your own work.
I call this the definitive guide, because in addition to providing instructions on how to design and implement surveys, it contains chapters devoted to better understanding the history and current practice of survey research in the United States. Chapter one provides a historical overview of survey methodology and discusses some of the challenges currently facing survey researchers. The only thing missing from this section was a table or figure showing how the response rates for different types of self-administered surveys have changed over time. I think this would have helped drive home the authors' point about the shift in people's willingness to participate in survey research. Chapter 11 contains information about the policies and procedures for conducting survey research in different institutions (i.e., the federal government, academia, and private companies) and how they can affect timelines, budgets, and the quality of the data collected. The extensive reference section serves as an excellent resource for those interested in learning more about the experimental research behind the recommendations in this book.
I used this book extensively when designing and implementing a web-based survey. The chapters on constructing survey questions and designing web surveys were very informative and easy to digest. I feel that the book was partially responsible for my survey's high response rate.
Other topics covered in the book, but not mentioned in this review: Panel surveys, mixed-method surveys, customer feedback surveys, and coverage and sampling.