A research routine to assess bias introduced by low response rates in postal surveys

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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.


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

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Journal Article

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