Conducting surveys with multidisciplinary health care providers: Current challenges and creative approaches to sampling, recruitment, and data collection

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Date of Original Version



Surveys represent one of the most common and useful ways to collect self-reported data on a wide variety of topics and from a diversity of respondents, including health care providers (HCPs). Unfortunately, survey response rates have been declining for decades; surveys with HCPs often yield response rates of 40% or less. Another major challenge in surveys with HCPs arises from difficulties in identifying appropriate sampling frames. The lack of appropriate sampling frames is particularly problematic when trying to survey multiple types of HCPs or those who work in unusual practice settings or specialties. The purpose of this paper is to describe the current challenges to survey research with college HCPs who are members of multidisciplinary care teams, and propose alternative approaches to sampling and data collection. An exemplar is provided in which three different approaches to sampling, recruitment and data collection were undertaken with a multidisciplinary sample of college HCPs. The three approaches are compared in terms of response rates, costs, and sample characteristics. Differences were noted in effort, response rates, and sample characteristics. Respondents recruited from professional organization mailing lists were disproportionately from smaller, private college/universities, as compared with those recruited from colleges/universities selected from a U.S. Department of Education list. However, no differences in variables of interest were found between the three samples, reducing concerns of potential bias. Developing best practices for surveying multiple types of HCPs will become increasingly important as we seek to better understand current care processes and plan implementation studies to promote the adoption of practice recommendations.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Research in Nursing and Health