managers dealing with public information and communication. The sampling frame was developed with the aid of the most widely used directory of human service agency managers, namely the APHSA directory (APHSA, 2001). Application of study criteria resulted in a sampling frame made of 570 managers from the fifty states and Washington, D.C. Given the small size of the sampling frame, a decision was made to administer the survey to the entire sampling frame (i.e. conduct a census).
As with most survey research projects, the survey implementation process sought to minimize non response both to the survey and specific questionnaire items. Thus the study employed Dillman's (1999) comprehensive tailored design method (TDM) approach to maximizing the response rate. This approach includes: (1) A questionnaire with well designed content; (2) survey questionnaire formatted in accordance with latest advances in cognitive research; (3) multiple personalized contacts, each contact accompanied with a carefully crafted message to encourage the respondent to complete the survey questionnaire; (4) use of real stamps on return envelopes; use of features such as pre notice letter, fax message, phone call at key points in the survey administration; and use of special delivery (combination of 2 day delivery by Airborne Express and Priority Mail service of US Postal Service.
The data collection phase of the study began in fall of 2002 and concluded in winter of 2003. First, respondents were sent an alert letter informing them about the study and requesting their cooperation in completing a questionnaire to be mailed later. Approximately a week after the initial alert letter, the survey questionnaire was mailed to the respondents. The cover letter accompanying the survey questionnaire outlined the study objectives, indicated the voluntary nature of the study, requested participation and provided contact details of the project director for further informational needs and clarifications. About ten days later a combination thank you/reminder postcard was sent to all respondents, thanking those who had responded and encouraging those who had not to respond as soon as they possibly could.
Nearly a month after the mailing of this postcard, a new cover letter and replacement survey were sent to non respondents. The cover letter emphasized the fact that it was important for everyone to respond (unless for some reason or other the respondent chose not to respond). In order to make sure that the respondents were aware