This paper reports on the outcomes of two experimental trials of the use of on‐line questionnaires to assess student satisfaction with courses at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In the first year, eighteen course modules were selected from three departments, surveying a total of 1,100 student places. Students on ten of the courses were invited to complete the ‘experimental’ on‐line survey and the remainder were invited to complete the paper‐based questionnaires which have been in use for several years. In the second year, the scale of the experiment was increased, to include forty‐six courses across seven departments. Response rates were compared and possible barriers to completion of the on‐line questionnaire were considered Whilst electronic monitoring indicated that 95 per cent (first trial) and 80 per cent (second trial) of those contacted for the on‐line survey opened the introductory email, only 23 per cent (first trial) and 27 per cent (second trial) completed the on‐line survey, compared with a 60 per cent response rate on the paper‐based survey. The on‐line response is also slightly lower than that achieved by postal surveys of LSE students (30–50 per cent response rates). Whilst some technical difficulties could have acted as a barrier, motivation appeared to be the main barrier. Initial results from the second trial, which included two reminder emails and some small incentives, show that it is possible to increase the response rate, but this may still be unacceptably low for staff whose promotion prospects may be affected by results. A third trial has been proposed, looking at ways in which the process as a whole could be amended, to overcome the problem of ‘survey fatigue’ that the current system faces
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