Does the Length of Fielding Period Matter? Examining Response Scores of Early Versus Late Responders

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Abstract

This article discusses the potential effects of a shortened fielding period on an employee survey’s item and index scores and respondent demographics. Using data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, we investigate whether early responding employees differ from later responding employees. Specifically, we examine differences in item and index scores related to employee engagement and global satisfaction. Our findings show that early responders tend to be less positive, even after adjusting their weights for nonresponse. Agencies vary in their prevalence of late responders, and score differences become magnified as this proportion increases. We also examine the extent to which early versus late responders differ on demographic characteristics such as grade level, supervisory status, gender, tenure with agency, and intention to leave, noting that nonminorities and females are the two demographic characteristics most associated with responding early.

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