J. Med. Internet Res. - Effects of a financial incentive on health researchers' response to an online survey: a randomized controlled trial.

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Resumo

CKGROUND: Nonresponse to questionnaires can affect the validity of surveys and introduce bias. Offering financial incentives can increase response rates to postal questionnaires, but the effect of financial incentives on response rates to online surveys is less clear.OBJECTIVE: As part of a survey, we aimed to test whether knowledge of a financial incentive would increase the response rate to an online questionnaire.METHODS: A randomized controlled trial of 485 UK-based principal investigators of publicly funded health services and population health research. Participants were contacted by email and invited to complete an online questionnaire via an embedded URL. Participants were randomly allocated to groups with either "knowledge of" or "no knowledge of" a financial incentive ( pound10 Amazon gift voucher) to be provided on completion of the survey. At the end of the study, gift vouchers were given to all participants who completed the questionnaire regardless of initial randomization status. Four reminder emails (sent from the same email address as the initial invitation) were sent out to nonrespondents at one, two, three, and four weeks; a fifth postal reminder was also undertaken. The primary outcome measure for the trial was the response rate one week after the second reminder. Response rate was also measured at the end of weeks one, two, three, four, and five, and after a postal reminder was sent.RESULTS: In total, 243 (50%) questionnaires were returned (232 completed, 11 in which participation was declined). One week after the second reminder, the response rate in the "knowledge" group was 27% (66/244) versus 20% (49/241) in the "no knowledge" group (chi(2) (1) = 3.0, P = .08). The odds ratio for responding among those with knowledge of an incentive was 1.45 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.95 - 2.21). At the third reminder, participants in the "no knowledge" group were informed about the incentive, ending the randomized element of the study. However we continued to follow up all participants, and from reminder three onwards, no significant differences were observed in the response rates of the two groups.CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of a financial incentive did not significantly increase the response rate to an online questionnaire. Future surveys should consider including a randomized element to further test the utility of offering incentives of other types and amounts to participate in online questionnaires.TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN59912797; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN59912797 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5iPPLbT7s).

Resumo Limpo

ckground nonrespons questionnair can affect valid survey introduc bias offer financi incent can increas respons rate postal questionnair effect financi incent respons rate onlin survey less clearobject part survey aim test whether knowledg financi incent increas respons rate onlin questionnairemethod random control trial ukbas princip investig public fund health servic popul health research particip contact email invit complet onlin questionnair via embed url particip random alloc group either knowledg knowledg financi incent pound amazon gift voucher provid complet survey end studi gift voucher given particip complet questionnair regardless initi random status four remind email sent email address initi invit sent nonrespond one two three four week fifth postal remind also undertaken primari outcom measur trial respons rate one week second remind respons rate also measur end week one two three four five postal remind sentresult total questionnair return complet particip declin one week second remind respons rate knowledg group versus knowledg group chi p odd ratio respond among knowledg incent confid interv ci third remind particip knowledg group inform incent end random element studi howev continu follow particip remind three onward signific differ observ respons rate two groupsconclus knowledg financi incent signific increas respons rate onlin questionnair futur survey consid includ random element test util offer incent type amount particip onlin questionnairestri registr isrctn httpwwwcontrolledtrialscomisrctn archiv webcit httpwwwwebcitationorgipplbt

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