Combining web-based and mail surveys improves response rates: a PBRN study from PRIME Net.
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The advent of Web-based survey tools has provided the investigator with an alternative to paper-based survey methods that in many instances may be less expensive to implement than traditional paper-based surveys. Newer technology, however, does not diminish the importance of obtaining an adequate response rate.We analyzed response rate data obtained from a survey implemented across 3 practice-based research networks (PBRNs) in which the survey was first implemented electronically with 5 rounds of electronic solicitation for an Internet-based questionnaire and then by 2 rounds of a paper-based version mailed only to nonresponders.Overall, 24% of the total survey responses received were in the paper mode despite intense promotion of the survey in the electronic phase.Our results suggest there is still an important role for the use of paper-based methods in PBRN survey research. Both hard copy and electronic survey collection methods may be required to enhance clinician response rates in PBRNs.