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The effect of survey method on survey participation: Analysis of data from the Health Survey for England 2006 and the Boost Survey for London

Mindell, JS; Tipping, S; Pickering, K; Hope, S; Roth, MA; Erens, B; (2010) The effect of survey method on survey participation: Analysis of data from the Health Survey for England 2006 and the Boost Survey for London. BMC MED RES METHODOL , 10 , Article 83. 10.1186/1471-2288-10-83. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: There is a need for local level health data for local government and health bodies, for health surveillance and planning and monitoring of policies and interventions. The Health Survey for England (HSE) is a nationally-representative survey of the English population living in private households, but sub-national analyses can be performed only at a regional level because of sample size. A boost of the HSE was commissioned to address the need for local level data in London but a different mode of data collection was used to maximise participant numbers for a given cost. This study examines the effects on survey and item response of the different survey modes.Methods: Household and individual level data are collected in HSE primarily through interviews plus individual measures through a nurse visit. For the London Boost, brief household level data were collected through interviews and individual level data through a longer self-completion questionnaire left by the interviewer and collected later. Sampling and recruitment methods were identical, and both surveys were conducted by the same organisation. There was no nurse visit in the London Boost. Data were analysed to assess the effects of differential response rates, item non-response, and characteristics of respondents.Results: Household response rates were higher in the 'Boost' (61%) than 'Core' (HSE participants in London) sample (58%), but the individual response rate was considerably higher in the Core (85%) than Boost (65%). There were few differences in participant characteristics between the Core and Boost samples, with the exception of ethnicity and educational qualifications. Item non-response was similar for both samples, except for educational level. Differences in ethnicity were corrected with non-response weights, but differences in educational qualifications persisted after non-response weights were applied. When item non-response was added to those reporting no qualification, participants' educational levels were similar in the two samples.Conclusion: Although household response rates were similar, individual response rates were lower using the London Boost method. This may be due to features of London that are particularly associated with lower response rates for the self-completion element of the Boost method, such as the multi-lingual population. Nevertheless, statistical adjustments can overcome most of the demographic differences for analysis. Care must be taken when designing self-completion questionnaires to minimise item non-response.

Type: Article
Title: The effect of survey method on survey participation: Analysis of data from the Health Survey for England 2006 and the Boost Survey for London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2288-10-83
Publisher version: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2288/10/83
Language: English
Additional information: © 2010 Mindell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: RATES, TRENDS, Health surveys, data collection, questionnaire, response rates, population characteristics
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > ICH Pop, Policy and Practice Prog
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/352360
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