How Much Do Additional Mailings and Telephone Calls Contribute to Response Rates in a Survey of Medicare Beneficiaries?

Published in: Field Methods, 2014

Posted on on November 26, 2014

by Q. Burkhart, Amelia Haviland, Paul Kallaur, Carol A. Edwards, Julie A. Brown, Marc N. Elliott

Read More

Access further information on this document at Field Methods

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Surveys often spend substantial money on multiple mailings and telephone calls to ensure high overall response rates and adequate representation of hard-to-reach demographic subgroups. We examine the extent to which an additional mailing and additional sets of telephone calls are effective in attaining these goals across a variety of subgroups in a large, national multimode survey of Medicare beneficiaries. We also examine the relative data quality of the responses that come with each level of extra effort. We find that additional mailings appear more effective in some groups, while additional telephone calls appear more effective in others. Tailoring the fielding strategy differently by subgroup may improve response rates at a lower cost per complete than using the same fielding protocol for all potential respondents, although data quality is likely to decline with additional efforts in either mode.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.