A research routine to assess bias introduced by low response rates in postal surveys
Ford, R. & Bammer, G. (2009). A research routine to assess bias introduced by low response rates in postal surveys. Nurse Researcher,17(1), 44-53. United Kingdom: RCN Publishing Company Ltd. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.7748/nr2009.10.17.1.44.c7338
Low response rates to postal surveys potentially bias study results. We used three approaches to determine why 46 per cent of a sample were non-responders, and to analyse any potential bias. Labour force data, telephone interviews with a number of non-responders and trend examination showed that our study sample was no different to the known nursing population, that there were few differences between responders and non-responders and that there were no trends in differences between early and late responders respectively. Results suggest ‘intenders’, or potential responders who do not complete and return the survey, are a key factor in non-response in surveys of nurses. Analysis for response bias increases confidence in the interpretations and conclusions of any study and should therefore become standard survey practice.