Survey Guidelines

Advance and Invitation Letters in Social Science Surveys

In social science surveys, fieldwork is usually initiated by mailing advance or invitation letters to the target persons. The objective of the advance letter is to convey the survey request and provide key information about the survey. In order to gain the target person’s co-operation, the advance letter should clarify the purpose of the survey, stress its importance and communicate its seriousness. The aim of this Survey Guideline is to give some recommendations for advance letters, including both formal and content issues. Moreover, this Guideline deals with other features that may affect how target persons perceive the advance letter. This includes, for instance, certain delivery specifications.

Only German (761 kB) version available.

Version 1.0; doi: 10.15465/gesis-sg_029


Slides: Advance and Invitation Letters in Social Science Surveys (German only)

Slide set summarizes the main statements of the paper; it can be used for teaching purpos


Stadtmüller, S., Martin, S., & Zabal, A. (2019). Das Zielpersonen-Anschreiben in sozialwissenschaftlichen Befragungen. Mannheim, GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften (GESIS – Survey Guidelines). doi: 10.15465/gesis-sg_029