Blogging Logging 14 – Survey methods and response

After accounting for bad addresses, non-loggers, etc., response rates for both studies were high. The 2003 and 2010 surveys yielded response rates of 59% and 63%, respectively.  Of note, the 2003 response rate was for the entire survey, which included both Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


The sample size for analysis was 369 for the 2003 survey and 319 for the 2010 survey. Those harvesting less than 100 cords in a given year were excluded from analysis for that year.


For both studies, we followed the same methodology: a multi-wave mail survey (Dillman et al. 2009). Each survey included an initial mailing (i.e., cover letter, questionnaire, and return envelope) and postcard reminder to all businesses in the sample, followed by two follow-up mailings to those who hadn’t yet responded. The initial mailing also included a $2 bill that past survey design research indicates improves overall response and actually reduces costs.

Initial lists of potential loggers for both studies were drawn from lists maintained by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources foresters, Wisconsin cooperative foresters, Wisconsin county, national, and state forest administrators, and the Forest Industry Safety & Training Alliance (FISTA).

Complete index for this series:


  1. Introduction
  2. Harvest systems & production volumes
  3. Profitability & production capacity
  4. Factors affecting profitability
  5. Business demographics
  6. Employees and contractors
  7. Capital investment
  8. Distance and hauling
  9. Certification
  10. Timber sales
  11. Source of timber supply
  12. Timber products and buyers
  13. Interest in biomass harvesting
  14. Survey methods and response
  15. Summary

Authors: Mark Rickenbach (UW-Madison/Extension) and Melinda Vokoun (UW-Stevens Point) [contact info at links]

The Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, which is now part of the Wisconsin Energy Institute, provided initial funding for 2011 logging sector survey. Additional support was provided through the Renewable Resources Extension Act and the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program, both of the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture. We appreciate the assistance of Tom Steele, Grace Maples, and Sarah Traver in helping bring this project to completion.

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