Combining Web-based and mail surveys improves response rates: A PBRN study from PRIME Net

Philip J. Kroth, Laurie McPherson, Robert Leverence, Wilson Pace, Elvan Daniels, Robert L. Rhyne, Robert L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The advent of Web-based survey tools has provided the investigator with an alternative to paper-based survey methods that in many instances may be less expensive to implement than traditional paper-based surveys. Newer technology, however, does not diminish the importance of obtaining an adequate response rate. METHODS: We analyzed response rate data obtained from a survey implemented across 3 practice-based research networks (PBRNs) in which the survey was first implemented electronically with 5 rounds of electronic solicitation for an Internet-based questionnaire and then by 2 rounds of a paper-based version mailed only to nonresponders. RESULTS: Overall, 24% of the total survey responses received were in the paper mode despite intense promotion of the survey in the electronic phase. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest there is still an important role for the use of paper-based methods in PBRN survey research. Both hard copy and electronic survey collection methods may be required to enhance clinician response rates in PBRNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitude of health personnel
  • Attitude to computers
  • Computer communication networks
  • Data collection
  • Electronic mail
  • Health care surveys/methods
  • Health surveys
  • Paper
  • Postal service
  • Questionnaires
  • Time factors
  • Usercomputer interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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