In running our first introductory "fellowship" at my university I've noticed that it's hard (even after nudging) to get post-fellowship feedback. I've also started sending out anonymous feedback forms to people I talk to but no one usually gets around to filling it. 

Does anyone have any useful tips on getting more people to give feedback? 

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One of my professors sets aside 5 minutes at the end of every lecture and hands out paper slips with a few prompts and questions. This is wildly successful, almost everyone participates. We also did this at the end of the EA Berlin unconference this summer, setting aside 20-30 minutes to fill in a really thorough form.

Of course if you care about feedback at a later date, this approach won't work as well.

I was just going to say, have everyone fill out the survey either at beginning or end of the session. I don't think you need paper slips, but participation is much higher if it is in session.

I don't agree with paying people to fill it out (because it removes intrinsic motivation, because it might seem weird to participants why this is worth paying for). I think having them fill it out in session should be sufficient to get nearly everyone to fill it out.

This works better than 'send later' because

  1. captive audience, not much better to do with their time
  2. social pressure and signaling, they see you are looking at them and handing back the slips
  3. top of mind, no chance to forget it

This works really well in my experience too.

This is more a tangent than a direct answer, but you might find this helpful: Readings and notes on how to get useful input from busy people

Pay them money. This signals that you actually care.

Heidi Grant Halvorson’s book ”Reinforcements” on some psychology of this topic is good: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/39085801-reinforcements

Thanks for indirectly reminding me to go back and read my notes on it! 🙂

From reading the others’ answers I also made the connection to Sparkwave’s excellent ”10 Conditions for Change”: https://www.sparkwave.tech/conditions-for-change/ In the end helping is a behavior and e.g. making it easier and more rewarding for others to help might help a lot.

Maybe it is worth it to pay people for feedback but personally my intrinsic motivation to help would be removed by that. Depends on who you want feedback from I guess. 🙂

Good suggestion below. Also,

Sometimes 'non-anonymous' can be better, I suspect, as people can get credit for their ideas and even a response. This might come at the cost of cost of honesty, but it doesn't need to do so much, if you set up the right environment of 'criticism is valuable'.

Maybe pay people for their time filling these out?

  • It signals that you value it
  • People may feel good and enjoy even 'small prizes' ... the allure of the 'free'