May 23, 2011

The Key to High Survey Response Rates Revealed

In a poster, entitled “Strategies for Achieving High Response Rates in a Web Based National Survey: Care for patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI),” recently presented at the American Heart Association:  Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2011 Scientific Sessions meeting in Washington, D.C., Yale researchers outlined key factors that influence the response rates of organizational surveys.

According to the Yale team, there are six key factors that helped produce such a high (91%) response rate: procedure, contacts collaboration, tailoring, relationships, and motivation. “The key to good survey research is a high response rate, but the challenge is no one wants to complete surveys.  And, it’s especially hard to get busy senior hospital executives to reply to survey questions,” explains Marcia Mulligan, program coordinator at the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute and lead author on the study. For this survey the researchers kept their approach clear and succinct. Using pre-notify mail invitations and automated web servers they were able to reach a large sample as well as multiple contacts at hospitals. During the communications with potential participants the researchers tried to have a connection with them through personal messages and one-on-one conversations as a way to increase response rates.

Leslie Curry, Ph.D., research scientist at the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute,  “A 91% return rate is extremely rare and this higher rate contributes to stronger science. The experience and techniques of the GHLI Yale team is the secret to our success with survey participants.”

For further information on GHLI AMI-related research click here

Nina Gumkowski, GHLI Intern

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