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Ann Epidemiol. 1992 Sep;2(5):745-53.

The effect on response rates of offering a small incentive with a mailed questionnaire.

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OCTRF Epidemiology Research Unit, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


To determine whether response rates to a mailed questionnaire sent to population control subjects could be increased through offer of a small incentive, half of the control subjects (n = 477) in a case-control study of renal cell carcinoma were randomly selected to receive a contact letter offering a lottery ticket if a completed questionnaire was returned; the remaining subjects (n = 477) received the same letter but with no mention of a lottery ticket. Overall response rates did not differ between the two groups (72.6% versus 74.4%), although a higher percentage of those offered a lottery ticket responded without follow-up (24.4% versus 18.5%). Binomial regression modeling of the effect of the lottery ticket offer, sex, age, and percent of urban dwellers on response indicated a significant effect only for percent of urban dwellers, the rate of response increasing with a decreasing percentage of urban dwellers. The effect of sex was of borderline significance (P = 0.05), with females having the higher rate of response.

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