Selected questionnaire size and color combinations were significantly related to mailed survey response rates

Timothy J. Beebe, Sarah M. Stoner, Kari J. Anderson, Arthur R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To determine the degree to which mailed survey response rates, response times, and nonresponse bias are affected by questionnaire size and color. Study Design and Setting: Questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of 2,000 Mayo Clinic patients in one of four size/color "test" groups. One thousand three hundred nine surveys were completed, approximately two-thirds in each group. Results: A small (61/8 × 81/4 in) questionnaire booklet on white paper had a higher response rate (68.4%) than a similarly sized questionnaire on blue paper (62.3%). A large (81/4 × 11 in) questionnaire on white paper had a 62.7% rate, whereas a large, blue questionnaire had a response rate of 68.6%. Median response times did not differ by questionnaire size/color. No evidence of differential nonresponse bias was observed across the four test groups. Conclusion: This study supports the use of a small/white questionnaire format advocated by the Total Design Method advanced by Don Dillman at Washington State University. We observed a favorable response rate for a large questionnaire printed on blue paper; however, if time and resources are limited, use of a small/white questionnaire appears preferable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1189
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume60
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

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Color
Reaction Time
Surveys and Questionnaires
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Keywords

  • Mail surveys
  • Paper color
  • Questionnaire size
  • Response bias
  • Response rate
  • Survey methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology

Cite this

Selected questionnaire size and color combinations were significantly related to mailed survey response rates. / Beebe, Timothy J.; Stoner, Sarah M.; Anderson, Kari J.; Williams, Arthur R.

In: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Vol. 60, No. 11, 11.2007, p. 1184-1189.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Beebe, Timothy J. ; Stoner, Sarah M. ; Anderson, Kari J. ; Williams, Arthur R. / Selected questionnaire size and color combinations were significantly related to mailed survey response rates. In: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2007 ; Vol. 60, No. 11. pp. 1184-1189.
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