Faced with soaring survey costs, geographers may increasingly consider mail or telephone surveys as alternatives to in-person interviews. This study goes beyond comparisons of response rates to analyze possible biases of administration methods in geographic studies. An empirical comparison between an in-person interview survey and two mail surveys of recent home buyers' housing preferences revealed that the mail surveys provided better representation of this population, as they had a higher completion rate (though lower response rate). While respondent attributes differed across administration modes, no direct effects of administration method on responses were found. Mail surveys appear to be a viable alternative to personal interviews in a wider set of cases than geographers usually assume, though more empirical work is needed to determine the extent of such cases.
- Non response
- Residential preferences