Exploring how to increase response rates to surveys of older people
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Exploring how to increase response rates to surveys of older people

Mira Palonen University instructor, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Marja Kaunonen Professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
Päivi Åstedt-Kurki Professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

Aim To address the special considerations that need to be taken into account when collecting data from older people in healthcare research.

Background An objective of all research studies is to ensure there is an adequate sample size. The final sample size will be influenced by methods of recruitment and data collection, among other factors. There are some special considerations that need to be addressed when collecting data among older people.

Data sources Quantitative surveys of people aged 60 or over in 2009-2014 were analysed using statistical methods. A quantitative study of patients aged 75 or over in an emergency department was used as an example.

Review methods A methodological approach to analysing quantitative studies concerned with older people.

Conclusion The best way to ensure high response rates in surveys involving people aged 60 or over is to collect data in the presence of the researcher; response rates are lowest in posted surveys and settings where the researcher is not present when data are collected. Response rates do not seem to vary according to the database from which information about the study participants is obtained or according to who is responsible for recruitment to the survey.

Implications for research/practice To conduct coherent studies with older people, the data collection process should be carefully considered.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 5, 15-19. doi: 10.7748/nr.23.5.15.s4

Correspondence

mira.palonen@uta.fi

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 07 April 2015

Accepted: 07 October 2015

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