A mixed-mode approach to data collection: combining web and paper questionnaires to examine nurses' attitudes to mental illness

J Adv Nurs. 2010 Jul;66(7):1623-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05357.x. Epub 2010 May 24.


Aim: This paper is a report an evaluation of the use of a sequential mixed-mode approach to data collection in a study of attitudes to mental illness and people with mental health problems held by Registered Nurses working in adult acute inpatient and psychiatric intensive care settings.

Background: The use of electronic tools for data collection is becoming increasingly common in nursing research. Currently there is a lack of reports of the use of mixed-mode designs featuring both web and paper questionnaires. The efficacy of this approach remains unclear.

Method: Web and paper versions of a questionnaire including the Community Attitudes towards the Mentally Ill scale were distributed in 2007 to all 148 Registered Nurses working in acute care settings in an English mental healthcare organization.

Results: The mixed-mode design was successful in increasing overall response rate. Data collection mode was indicative of statistically significantly different response rates, but had no impact on differences in nurses' socio-demographic characteristics or attitudes to mental illness. The use of email reminders had a positive impact on the web questionnaire return rate.

Conclusion: Future nursing studies could benefit from a mixed-mode study design to attain increased response rates and reduce non-response bias, although further research should be undertaken with larger groups of nurses to verify consistently the absence of mode effect on study outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • State Medicine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult