The Effects of Web and Mail Mixed-Mode Approaches on Response Rates in aSurvey of Physicians
McFarlane, E. S., Murphy, J., Olmsted, M. G., & Severance, J. (2009, May). The Effects of Web and Mail Mixed-Mode Approaches on Response Rates in a Survey of Physicians. Presented at AAPOR 2009, .
This paper evaluates the effects of two mixed-mode (mail and web) survey designs versus a single mode (mail) design on response rates for a survey of physicians. In comparisons of single-mode physician surveys, mail surveys typically outperform web surveys (Van Geest, 2007). However, very little research with physicians has compared whether a mail and web mixed-mode approach can improve response rates compared to mail-only surveys. A mixed-mode approach may increase response rates by offering flexibility and allowing physicians to choose their preferred mode for responding.
In a national survey of board-certified physicians, two different mixed-mode approaches were used to evaluate the impact on response rates. In the first approach, physicians were sent a mail survey with the option to respond by either mailing back the enclosed survey or completing the survey on the web. All follow-up mailings used the same approach. In the second mixed-mode approach, physicians received a mail survey with a mail-only response option for the first mailing. On all follow-up mailings, however, physicians received a mail survey with the option to respond by mail or web. This alternative approach was chosen because the Total Design Method (Dillman, 2000) suggests that follow-up attempts should use a different technique than the original attempt to improve their effectiveness.
The effect of the two different mixed-mode approaches on response rates will be compared to the single-mode control group (mail-only survey and response option on all mailings). The implications of the findings will be discussed in terms of future designs of surveys and survey research with elite populations.