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
Kelly, B., Fraze, T. K., & Hornik, R. C. (2010). 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. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 10, 65.
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