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Employee Surveys 121 6.2.2 Employer or List-Based Approach The first step in using a list-based approach is to develop a list of all employees working at the airport by asking employers for contact information for their employees for use in conducting a survey. Some employers may prefer to distribute the questionnaire directly to their employees and not provide contact information. The information available on the employees will determine which of the following methods can be used to contact them: Email--generally the quickest and easiest method, but email addresses may not be available for all employees. The message would ask them to participate in the survey and could provide a link to a Web-based questionnaire (see Section 1.4) that would be completed online. Alterna- tive methods, such as including the questionnaire as an attachment or in the body of the email, are not recommended because inexperienced users often have trouble dealing with these files, and returning the completed questionnaires can be problematic. If email addresses are known for most, but not all, employees, those without email addresses could be surveyed by mail or telephone. Mail--usually the most reliable method for contacting employees whose home or work addresses are available, but responses are usually slow and response rates are typically low. Telephone--allows the use of interviews, rather than self-completed questionnaires, but is generally more costly to administer. It may take a number of calls just to reach the employee on the telephone, and many employees may not have a telephone at their work location. (Section 8.3 includes an extensive discussion on conducting telephone surveys.) Employer-distributed--recommended to be placed in an envelope with the employee's name on the envelope, so that it can be verified that each employee to be surveyed receives a questionnaire. Completed questionnaires could be collected using a drop box at the employee's work location, or by mail or fax. Another option with printed questionnaires distributed by mail or via employ- ers is to include a Web address on the questionnaire and invite recipients to fill in the question- naire online, if they prefer this method and have Internet access. If returning questionnaires by mail is an option, pre-paid envelopes should be provided. The advantage of a list-based method is that it is possible to use a structured approach to the sampling of employees to ensure an unbiased representative sample is chosen. The main dis- advantage is that it may not be possible to identify all employees working at the airport and include them on the list, and a biased sample may result. Compiling the lists can also be time consuming, and some employers may not cooperate, resulting in an incomplete list. The initial step should be to ask employers if they will provide a list of employees and, if some will not, then decide how to proceed. It may be necessary to switch to an on-site survey or a hybrid approach in which some employees are surveyed with a list-based method and others are surveyed using an on-site method. Switching approaches part way through the survey planning process can increase the time and cost involved. 6.3 Sampling Methodology The sample size and the method used to select the sample of employees to survey will depend on the total number of employees (population) and any specific subgroups to be analyzed, and the desired accuracy. If using mail, email, or employer distribution of questionnaires, the low response rates associated with these methods, sometimes well below 50%, should be considered. When using one of these methods at a small airport, it may be best to survey all people on the list (i.e., to con- duct a census survey).