Labour-saving strategies to maintain survey response rates: a randomised trial

Aust N Z J Public Health. 1998;22(3 Suppl):394-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.1998.tb01398.x.


To evaluate response-aiding strategies feasible in large surveys, we randomly allocated general practitioners (GPs) to one of four intervention groups: Group 1 received 'exhaustive' telephone prompts by a medical peer in advance of a questionnaire; Group 2, inclusion of an embossed pen with the questionnaire; Group 3, an advance letter prompt; and Group 4, a 'single attempt' advance telephone prompt by a non-medical research assistant. Follow-up procedures were identical. Response rates by group were not significantly different overall (chi 2 = 4.59, df = 3, p = 0.20) although advance prompts by a medical peer were significantly more effective than other strategies for male GPs. The difference in overall response rates between males (63%) and females (74%) was significant (chi 2 = 15.40, df = 1, p < 0.01). No other response bias was evident. Our demonstration of a significant interaction between respondent sex and response-aiding strategy invites further research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Correspondence as Topic*
  • Data Collection / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fund Raising
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Peer Group*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Telephone*
  • Work Simplification*