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Title: Randomized trial of financial incentives and delivery methods for improving response to a mailed questionnaire.
Authors: Doody MM,  Sigurdson AS,  Kampa D,  Chimes K,  Alexander BH,  Ron E,  Tarone RE,  Linet MS
Journal: Am J Epidemiol
Date: 2003 Apr 1
Branches: REB, BB
PubMed ID: 12672684
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: In a follow-up study, only 64% of 126,628 US radiologic technologists completed a questionnaire during 1994-1997 after two mailings. The authors conducted a randomized trial of financial incentives and delivery methods to identify the least costly approach for increasing overall participation. They randomly selected nine samples of 300 nonresponders each to receive combinations of no, 1.00 US dollar, 2.00 US dollars, and 5.00 US dollars cash or check incentives delivered by first-class mail or Federal Express. Federal Express delivery did not achieve greater participation than first-class mail (23.2% vs. 23.7%). In analyses pooled across delivery methods, the response was significantly greater for the 2.00 US dollar bill (28.9%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 25.2, 32.7; p < 0.0001), 5.00 US dollars check (27.5%, 95% CI: 22.5, 33.0; p = 0.0001), 1.00 US dollar bill (24.6%, 95% CI: 21.2, 28.3; p = 0.0007), and 2.00 US dollars check (21.8%, 95% CI: 18.5, 25.3; p = 0.02) compared with no incentive (16.6%, 95% CI: 13.7, 19.9). The response increased significantly with increasing incentive amounts from 0.00 to 2.00 US dollars cash (p trend < 0.0001). The 2.00 US dollar bill achieved a 30% greater response than did a 2.00 US dollars check (p = 0.005). For incentives sent by first-class mail, the 5.00 US dollars check yielded 30% greater participation than did the 2.00 US dollars check (p = 0.07). A 1.00 US dollar bill, chosen instead of the 2.00 US dollars bill because of substantially lower overall cost and sent by first-class mail to the remaining 42,717 nonresponders, increased response from 64% to 72%.