The effect of advance telephone prompting in a survey of general dental practitioners in Scotland: a randomised controlled trial

J. Ho-A-Yun, F. Crawford, J. Newton, J. Clarkson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives Evaluation of advance telephone prompting on the response rate to a postal, self-completed questionnaire. To provide an estimate of the cost of such a strategy. Method A sample of 315 GDPs was randomly selected from a randomised database of GDPs practicing in Scotland. 157 GDPs were randomly allocated to receive an advance telephone prompt, via the practice receptionist; 158 were allocated to a control group. Four days after prompting all trial participants were mailed identical questionnaires, cover letter and postage paid return envelope. Results Response rates: 53% - advance telephone prompt group and 40% - control group. The effect size, 13%, was found to be statistically significant, p=0.026. Total estimated strategy costs: 74.00 pound. The incremental cost was estimated to be 4.93 pound for each additional response. Conclusions Advance telephone prompting of GDP's, via the practice receptionist, statistically significantly improves the response rate to a postal self-completed questionnaire. This is estimated to be a cost effective strategy for improving response rates to postal questionnaires.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)233-237
    Number of pages5
    JournalCommunity Dental Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


    • analysis
    • controlled trial
    • cost
    • questionnaire
    • randomised response rate
    • MAIL

    Cite this