Combining conditional and unconditional recruitment incentives could facilitate telephone tracing in surveys of postpartum women

Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 3.42). 08/2006; 59(7):732-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.11.011
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To compare tracing and contact rates using alternative incentives in a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) survey among postpartum women.
In a randomized trial of 1,061 postpartum women 18-49 years of age selected from four Iowa counties, we compared the effects of: (1) unconditional $5 telephone card incentive enclosed with the introductory letter followed by $25 incentive conditional upon successful telephone tracing, contact, and completion of CATI (Group 1, n = 530) vs. (2) $30 incentive conditional upon subject completion of CATI (Group 2, n = 531).
Overall telephone tracing and contact rates achieved were 67.8% and 66.6%, respectively. Tracing (70.2 vs. 65.4%, P = .09) and contact (68.5 vs. 64.8%, P = .26) rates were consistently higher among subjects assigned the combination of a conditional and an unconditional incentive. The combined incentive type had a greater impact on telephone tracing success rates for subjects on whom we could not initially locate an active telephone number (16.7 vs. 7.3%, P = .07) when compared to subjects for whom we found an active telephone number at the time of mailing the introductory letter (78.9 vs. 75.9%, P = .30).
Combining conditional and unconditional recruitment incentives can facilitate telephone tracing efforts in surveys conducted among recently postpartum women.

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Available from: Karisa K Harland, Oct 07, 2015
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    • "Some studies have specifically examined the use of incentives in low income or high minority populations [1,3,4,17-19]. Unconditional incentives, which are prepaid and not conditional upon participation, have been shown to be more effective than conditional incentives, [9,14,16,20-22] particularly in minority and low income populations [1,3,17-19]. However, no studies have examined the effect of unconditional incentives in Canadian lower socioeconomic status, lower education and immigrant populations in a telephone survey. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Poor response rates in prevalence surveys can lead to nonresponse bias thereby compromising the validity of prevalence estimates. We conducted a telephone survey of randomly selected households to estimate the prevalence of food allergy in the 10 Canadian provinces between May 2008 and March 2009 (the SCAAALAR study: Surveying Canadians to Assess the Prevalence of Common Food Allergies and Attitudes towards Food LAbeling and Risk). A household response rate of only 34.6% was attained, and those of lower socioeconomic status, lower education and new Canadians were underrepresented. We are now attempting to target these vulnerable populations in the SPAACE study (Surveying the Prevalence of Food Allergy in All Canadian Environments) and are evaluating strategies to increase the response rate. Although the success of incentives to increase response rates has been demonstrated previously, no studies have specifically examined the use of unconditional incentives in these vulnerable populations in a telephone survey. The pilot study will compare response rates between vulnerable Canadian populations receiving and not receiving an incentive. Findings Randomly selected households were randomly assigned to receive either a $5 incentive or no incentive. The between group differences in response rates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. The response rates for the incentive and non-incentive groups were 36.1% and 28.7% respectively, yielding a between group difference of 7.4% (−0.7%, 15.6%). Conclusion Although the wide CI precludes definitive conclusions, our results suggest that unconditional incentives are effective in vulnerable populations for telephone surveys.
    BMC Research Notes 10/2012; 5(1):572. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-5-572
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    • "In other research, incentives have been shown to have a positive effect on retention rates in postal surveys,[55-57] other study designs, in-person and telephone interviews and online studies,[58-60] and also in the recruitment of study members in longitudinal cohort and cross-sectional studies and clinical trials[61-64]. In a meta-analysis of the methods used in postal studies to increase response and retention rates, the odds of response or retention increased by more than half when monetary incentives were received versus non-monetary incentives[57]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Longitudinal studies are of aetiological and public health relevance but can be undermined by attrition. The aim of this paper was to identify effective retention strategies to increase participation in population-based cohort studies. Systematic review of the literature to identify prospective population-based cohort studies with health outcomes in which retention strategies had been evaluated. Twenty-eight studies published up to January 2011 were included. Eleven of which were randomized controlled trials of retention strategies (RCT). Fifty-seven percent of the studies were postal, 21% in-person, 14% telephone and 7% had mixed data collection methods. A total of 45 different retention strategies were used, categorised as 1) incentives, 2) reminder methods, repeat visits or repeat questionnaires, alternative modes of data collection or 3) other methods. Incentives were associated with an increase in retention rates, which improved with greater incentive value. Whether cash was the most effective incentive was not clear from studies that compared cash and gifts of similar value. The average increase in retention rate was 12% for reminder letters, 5% for reminder calls and 12% for repeat questionnaires. Ten studies used alternative data collection methods, mainly as a last resort. All postal studies offered telephone interviews to non-responders, which increased retention rates by 3%. Studies that used face-to-face interviews increased their retention rates by 24% by offering alternative locations and modes of data collection. Incentives boosted retention rates in prospective cohort studies. Other methods appeared to have a beneficial effect but there was a general lack of a systematic approach to their evaluation.
    BMC Public Health 04/2011; 11(1):249. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-11-249 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Postal and electronic questionnaires are a relatively inexpensive way to collect information from people for research purposes. If people do not reply (so called 'non-responders'), the research results will tend to be less accurate. This systematic review found several ways to increase response. People can be contacted before they are sent a postal questionnaire. Postal questionnaires can be sent by first class post or recorded delivery, and a stamped-return envelope can be provided. Questionnaires, letters and e-mails can be made more personal, and preferably kept short. Incentives can be offered, for example, a small amount of money with a postal questionnaire. One or more reminders can be sent with a copy of the questionnaire to people who do not reply.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 02/2009; 3(3):MR000008. DOI:10.1002/14651858.MR000008.pub4 · 6.03 Impact Factor
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