Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Lost Letter Technique

This is an unobtrusive measure of attitudes in which stamped addressed envelopes are scattered in public places, as if left by accident, the proportion being posted by members of the public and turning up at the addresses on the envelopes providing a crude index of attitudes in the community.
For example, if half the envelopes are addressed to a pro-same-sex marriage organisation and half to an anti-same-sex marriage organisation, and if equal numbers of pro-same-sex marriage and anti-same-sex marriage envelopes are distributed but significantly more of the pro-same-sex marriage envelopes are returned; then it may be concluded that members of the community are more favourably disposed towards the pro-marriage than the anti-marriage cause.
The technique was introduced by the US psychologist Stanley Milgram (1933-84) and colleagues in an article in the journal Public Opinion Quarterly in 1965. Milgram's classic use of the Lost Letter Technique as a behavioural measure of attitudes showed that return rates can be influenced by the addressee written on the letter, particularly when the addressee represents a controversial organization (Milgram, 1969; 1977; Milgram et al., 1965).
Colman, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment