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J Clin Epidemiol. 2001 Apr;54(4):430-2.

A mail survey of United States hematologists and oncologists: a comparison of business reply versus stamped return envelopes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Mailed surveys are a popular means of obtaining data on large populations. In July 1999 a mail survey was conducted among 3000 randomly selected members of the American Society of Hematology to assess their approach to diagnosis and treatment of polycythemia vera. Because the researchers and the study population are members of the same professional organization with a vested interest in the results, we anticipated that the advantages of return stamped postage seen in previous studies would be less significant. The response rate for stamped return envelopes was 38% versus 32% for business reply envelopes. This statistically significant difference (P =.0005) of six percentage points is comparable to previous research. Excluding labor, the total cost per returned survey was $2.62 for business reply envelopes versus $1.82 for stamped return envelopes. We conclude that stamped return envelopes are a more effective and cost-efficient means of procuring data from physician specialists.

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