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Eval Health Prof. 2002 Jun;25(2):152-68.

An example of maximizing survey return rates. Methodological issues for health professionals.

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Stanford University, USA.


Obtaining a high response rate in survey research can bolster statistical power, reduce sampling error, and enhance the generalizability of the results to the population surveyed. We describe a mail survey designed to achieve a high return rate of completed questionnaires from members of the American Psychological Association who were engaged in clinical practice. We adapted the Total Design Method for survey research and were able to achieve a high response rate (68%) among health professionals. This was not an experiment in which we assessed the best method to increase survey response rates, hence we cannot empirically evaluate how each of the steps influenced our overall response rate. Future research is needed to identify the relative effectiveness of each of these principles in enhancing survey response rates. Research is also needed to distinguish general principles that apply across populations from those that must be tailored to specific subpopulations.

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