An Experiment of Different Recruitment Models in the Control Group of a Clinical Psychological Postal Survey
Recruitment of a large and reliable control group is a challenge in psychological survey based research. The effect of recruitment styles and age on response-rate, data quality, and individual differences were investigated in a control group for a postal survey of elderly bereaved people. This study was a direct reaction to the first recruitment attempt that had a 10% response rate. This study consisted of four groups of randomly selected elderly married people (65-81 years) receiving a postal questionnaire measuring depression, social support, coping style, adult attachment, life satisfaction, and personality factors. All groups were exposed to a set of general initiatives (customized introduction letter with university letterhead; self-addressed, prepaid envelope included; personally directed letter signed by the researcher; an assurance of confidentiality). Three groups were exposed to different specific initiatives (short non-sensitive questionnaire, recorded response, and monetary incentive independent of response) to increase the response-rate. The results indicated that general initiatives and information letters apparently increased the response-rate from 10 to 31%. Monetary incentive had the highest response-rate (51%), good data quality, and no sampling bias in individual differences. This method can be highly recommended in future control group recruitment.
Quality and Quantity, 2011, Vol 45, Issue 4
Control group recruitment, psychological surveys, response-rates, data quality, age effects.