A comparison of general practitioner response rates to electronic and postal surveys in the setting of the National STI Prevention Program Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To compare the response rates achieved for an online survey with a postal survey of general practitioners (GPs) as a method to evaluate the National STI Prevention Program. METHODS: All GPs in Australia were asked to complete an online survey. A further sample of 509 GPs were asked to complete a postal survey. Response rates to both recruitment methods were compared. The demographic characteristics of responders were compared to the entire GP population of Australia. RESULTS: Twenty GPs completed the online survey (response rate <0.1%). Sixty-three GPs completed the postal survey (response rate 12.4%). The demographic characteristics of those responding to the postal survey showed no statistically significant difference compared to the general GP population. CONCLUSION: Our postal survey had a higher response rate than the online survey. Our response to the postal survey was lower than other similar studies and is likely to be due to a lack of incentives and follow-up. Even with the low response rate it appears that postal surveys can provide a good representation of the overall population. IMPLICATIONS: Despite growing use of online surveys, postal surveys should still be the method of choice whenever possible. Postal surveys should include incentives and further follow-up of the initial recruitment should be conducted.

publication date

  • April 2011