Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instructional Technology and Educational Studies

Major Professor

John R. Ray

Committee Members

Edward Counts, Lester Knight, Dulcie Peccolo


This descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted as a mode experiment using a questionnaire to collect data on student technology usage at a small, private Christian College. The purpose of this study was to compare and analyze response rates and times from a self-administered questionnaire delivered by Internet or mail. Follow-up interviews reported reasons why participants did not respond. Two randomly selected samples (stratified by traditional and adult categories) were assigned to receive the questionnaire by mail or Internet. Randomization for each sample was proportional, based on key variables used in the study. The first sample (traditional category) consisted of 124 students, while the second sample (adult category) consisted of 276 students for a total sample size of 400.

Of the main findings of the study, a significantly higher percentage of mail surveys (43.88%) were returned than that of Internet surveys (10.05%). Interview data indicated that the large discrepancy stemmed from the Internet subgroup having no memory of receiving the questionnaire. Of the factors that contributed to no memory, the one most reported was respondents did not check their College provided e-mail account. While 30% reported they routinely or daily check their e-mail account, 70% indicated they never or rarely check their account. Although more mail questionnaires were returned than Internet, 45% of all completed Internet questionnaires were returned before the first mailed questionnaire. Overall, the average response time to receive an Internet questionnaire was significantly faster (7.5 days for Internet, 11.2 days for mailed).

The findings for this study suggest response rates for Internet surveys still lag behind mailed surveys. Confounding the lower response rates was the lack of conformity to College policy in regards to students checking their College provided e-mail account. These findings demonstrate the need to conduct further research on modal differences and to conduct further research with the population understudy.

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