The effects of tracking responses and the day of mailing on physician survey response rate: three randomized trials Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: The response rates to physician postal surveys remain modest. The primary objective of this study was to assess the effect of tracking responses on physician survey response rate (i.e., determining whether each potential participant has responded or not). A secondary objective was to assess the effects of day of mailing (Monday vs. Friday) on physician survey response rate. METHODS: We conducted 3 randomized controlled trials. The first 2 trials had a 2 x 2 factorial design and tested the effect of day of mailing (Monday vs. Friday) and of tracking vs. no tracking responses. The third trial tested the effect of day of mailing (Monday vs. Friday). We meta-analyzed these 3 trials using a random effects model. RESULTS: The total number of participants in the 3 trials was 1339. The response rate with tracked mailing was not statistically different from that with non-tracked mailing by the time of the first reminder (RR = 1.01 95% CI 0.84, 1.22; I²  =  0%). There was a trend towards lower response rate with tracked mailing by the time of the second reminder (RR = 0.91; 95% CI 0.78, 1.06; I²  =  0%). The response rate with mailing on Mondays was not statistically different from that with Friday mailing by the time of first reminder (RR = 1.01; 95% CI 0.87, 1.17; I²  =  0%), and by the time of the 2(nd) reminder (RR = 1.08; 95% CI 0.84, 1.39; I²  =  77%). CONCLUSIONS: Tracking response may negatively affect physicians' response rate. The day of mailing does not appear to affect physicians' response rate.

publication date

  • 2011