This study assessed whether postal follow-up to a web-based physician survey improves response rates, response quality, and representativeness. We recruited primary care and gastroenterology chiefs at 125 Veterans Affairs medical facilities to complete a 10-min web-based survey on colorectal cancer screening and diagnostic practices in 2010. We compared response rates, response errors, and representativeness in the primary care and gastroenterology samples before and after adding postal follow-up. Adding postal follow-up increased response rates by 20–25 percentage points; markedly greater increases than predicted from a third e-mail reminder. In the gastroenterology sample, the mean number of response errors made by web responders (0.25) was significantly smaller than the mean number made by postal responders (2.18), and web responders provided significantly longer responses to open-ended questions. There were no significant differences in these outcomes in the primary care sample. Adequate representativeness was achieved before postal follow-up in both samples, as indicated by the lack of significant differences between web responders and the recruitment population on facility characteristics. We conclude adding postal follow-up to this web-based physician leader survey improved response rates but not response quality or representativeness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the following grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs: Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) grant # IIR 08-334-2 (Partin), HSR&D Research Career Scientist award #RCS 10-185 (Partin), HSR&D Career Development Awards #CDA 07-016 (Haggstrom), and #CDA 08-024 (Powell), and Clinical Science Research & Development Career Development Award CDA-2 (Shaukat).
© 2013, © The Author(s) 2013.
Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- colorectal neoplasms
- data quality
- organizational structure
- survey methods