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BMC Med Res Methodol. 2010 Jul 14;10:65. doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-10-65.

Response rates to a mailed survey of a representative sample of cancer patients randomly drawn from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry: a randomized trial of incentive and length effects.

Author information

1
Research Triangle Institute, Washington, DC, USA. bkelly@rti.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In recent years, response rates to telephone surveys have declined. Online surveys may miss many older and poorer adults. Mailed surveys may have promise in securing higher response rates.

METHODS:

In a pilot study, 1200 breast, prostate and colon patients, randomly selected from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, were sent surveys in the mail. Incentive amount ($3 vs. $5) and length of the survey (10 pages vs. 16 pages) were randomly assigned.

RESULTS:

Overall, there was a high response rate (AAPOR RR4 = 64%). Neither the amount of the incentive, nor the length of the survey affected the response rate significantly. Colon cancer surveys were returned at a significantly lower rate (RR4 = 54%), than breast or prostate surveys (RR4 = 71%, and RR4 = 67%, respectively; p < .001 for both comparisons). There were no significant interactions among cancer type, length of survey and incentive amount in their effects on response likelihood.

CONCLUSION:

Mailed surveys may provide a suitable alternative option for survey-based research with cancer patients.

PMID:
20630101
PMCID:
PMC2912919
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2288-10-65
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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