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Health Serv Res. Feb 2001; 35(6): 1347–1355.
PMCID: PMC1089194
Reported response rates to mailed physician questionnaires.
S M Cummings, L A Savitz, and T R Konrad
Graduate Program in Health Care Administration, Simmons College, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To examine response rate information from mailed physician questionnaires reported in published articles. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Citations for articles published between 1985 and 1995 were obtained using a key word search of the Medline, PsychLit, and Sociofile databases. STUDY DESIGN: A 5 percent random sample of relevant citations was selected from each year. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Citations found to be other than physician surveys were discarded and replaced with the next randomly assigned article. Selected articles were abstracted using a standardized variable list. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The average response rate for mailed physician questionnaires was 61 percent. The average response rate for large sample surveys (> 1,000 observations) was 52 percent. In addition, only 44 percent of the abstracted articles reported a discussion of response bias, and only 54 percent reported any type of follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: (1) Response rates have remained somewhat constant over time, and (2) researchers need to document the efforts used to increase response rates to mailed physician questionnaires.
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