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Can Fam Physician. 2008 Oct;54(10):1424-30.

Effects of various methodologic strategies: survey response rates among Canadian physicians and physicians-in-training.

Author information

1
College of Family Physicians of Canada-Research, Mississauga, Ont. igg@cfpc.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To increase the overall 2007 response rate of the National Physician Survey (NPS) from the survey's 2004 rate of response with the implementation of various methodologic strategies.

DESIGN:

Physicians were stratified to receive either a long version (12 pages) or a short version (6 pages) of the survey (38% and 62%, respectively). Mixed modes of contact were used-58% were contacted by e-mail and 42% by regular mail-with multiple modes of contact attempted for nonrespondents. The self-administered, confidential surveys were distributed in either English or French. Medical residents and students received e-mail surveys only and were offered a substantial monetary lottery incentive for completing their surveys. A professional communications firm assisted in marketing the survey and delivered advance notification of its impending distribution.

SETTING:

Canada.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 62 441 practising physicians, 2627 second-year medical residents, and 9162 medical students in Canada.

RESULTS:

Of the practising physicians group, 60 811 participants were eligible and 19 239 replied, for an overall 2007 study response rate of 31.64% (compared with 35.85% in 2004). No difference in rate of response was found between the longer and shorter versions of the survey. If contacted by regular mail, the response rate was 34.1%; the e-mail group had a response rate of 29.9%. Medical student and resident response rates were 30.8% and 27.9%, respectively (compared with 31.2% and 35.6% in 2004).

CONCLUSION:

Despite shortening the questionnaires, contacting more physicians by e-mail, and enhancing marketing and follow-up, the 2007 NPS response rate for practising physicians did not surpass the 2004 NPS response rate. Offering a monetary lottery incentive to medical residents and students was also unsuccessful in increasing their response rates. The role of surveys in gathering information from physicians and physicians-in-training remains problematic. Researchers need to investigate alternative strategies for achieving higher rates of response.

PMID:
18854472
PMCID:
PMC2567275
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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