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BMC Med Res Methodol. 2016 Aug 5;16:94. doi: 10.1186/s12874-016-0201-8.

The effect of a monetary incentive for administrative assistants on the survey response rate: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, CRL-209, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada.
2
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle #3172, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8, Canada.
3
Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, 3435 Main Street, 14214, Buffalo, NY, USA.
4
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada.
5
Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, CRL-209, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada. ea32@aub.edu.lb.
6
Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut, Riad El Solh, PO Box 11-0236, Beirut, 1107 2020, Lebanon. ea32@aub.edu.lb.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is sufficient evidence that monetary incentives are effective in increasing survey response rates in the general population as well as with physicians. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a monetary incentive intended for administrative assistants on the survey response rate of physicians in leadership positions.

METHODS:

This was an ancillary study to a national survey of chairs of academic Departments of Medicine in the United States about measuring faculty productivity. We randomized survey participants to receive or not receive a $5 gift card enclosed in the survey package. The cover letter explained that the gift card was intended for the administrative assistants as a "thank you for their time." We compared the response rates between the 2 study arms using the Chi-square test.

RESULTS:

Out of 152 participants to whom survey packages were mailed to, a total of 78 responses were received (51 % response rate). The response rates were 59 % in the incentive arm and 46 % in the no incentive arm. The relative effect of the incentive compared to no monetary incentive was borderline statistically significant (relative risk (RR) = 1.36, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.99 to 1.87; p = 0.055).

CONCLUSION:

Monetary incentives intended for administrative assistants likely increase the response rate of physicians in leadership positions.

PMID:
27495186
PMCID:
PMC4975879
DOI:
10.1186/s12874-016-0201-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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