Using a Small Cash Incentive to Increase Survey Response
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Surveys tend to yield low response rates among human service professionals. This study examined whether a randomly-assigned prepaid $2 incentive increased response rates over time, and was cost-effective for increasing response count, among social workers and volunteer mediators. The incentive was enclosed with a mixed-mode survey of factors related to burnout and intention-to-remain. The incentive increased response rates over time. The effect of the incentive did not differ between mediators and social workers. The $2 incentive was not cost-effective for increasing response count. Implications are discussed for reducing nonresponse bias, decreasing time-to-response, and considering response rate versus response count.
KeywordsSurvey research Response rate Incentive Mental health services research Behavioral health services research
This research was supported with funding from University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
This author is employed by University of Maryland School of Social Work, and has received funding support for educational programs and attending symposia.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual respondents included in the study. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
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