Grant R. Martsolf Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., Robert E. Schofield, David R. Johnson Ph.D., Dennis P. Scanlon Ph.D.
To demonstrate that different approaches to handling cases of unknown eligibility in random digit dial health surveys can contribute to significant differences in response rates.
Primary survey data of individuals with chronic disease.
We computed response rates using various approaches, each of which make different assumptions about the disposition of cases of unknown eligibility.
Data were collected via telephone interviews as part of the ligning orces for uality (4Q) consumer survey, a representative survey of adults with chronic illnesses in 17 communities and nationally.
We found that various approaches to estimating eligibility rates can lead to substantially different response rates.
Health services researchers must consider strategies to standardize response rate reporting, enter into a dialog related to why response rate reporting is important, and begin to utilize alternate methods for demonstrating that survey data are valid and reliable.