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Eval Health Prof. 1999 Dec;22(4):427-41.

Physician participation in research surveys. A randomized study of inducements to return mailed research questionnaires.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98104, USA.


The authors randomly selected 400 physicians from a population of 1,545 practicing physicians providing follow-up care to patients who received bone marrow or blood stem cell transplants at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to determine interest in receiving Internet-based transplant information. In a two-factor completely randomized factorial design, the 400 physicians were assigned to receive mailed surveys with either no compensation or a $5 check and either no follow-up call or a follow-up call 3 weeks after mailing. Overall, 51.5% of the physicians returned the mailed surveys. Comparison of logit models showed that inclusion of a $5 check in the mailer significantly (p = .016) increased the probability of returning the surveys (57.5% vs. 45.5%). In contrast, the telephone follow-up had no overall effect. The authors concluded a modest financial reward can significantly improve physician response rates to research surveys but a telephone follow-up may be inefficient and even ineffective.

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