Physician Response to a Mailed Survey

An Experiment in Timing of Payment

by Sandra H. Berry, David E. Kanouse


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This Note, which originally appeared in Public Opinion Quarterly, v. 51, reports the results of an experiment in obtaining physician response to a mailed questionnaire. Each physician was eligible for a payment of $20. A randomly selected half received the payment with their initial questionnaire and cover letter; half were told they would receive their payment after they completed and returned the questionnaire. The same mail and telephone follow-up procedures were used for both groups. Overall, prepayment had significant positive effects on response rates. This study examines these effects in terms of response rates for various specialties, field efficiencies, cost, and representativeness of the sample.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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