Failure of a significant proportion of people to respond to a survey can bias the results of the survey. The significance of any bias depends on how the information is used.





not answering the phone


not filling out or mailing in the questionnaire


The impact of a low response rate can sometimes be adjusted for.


Failure in adjustment can occur with:

(1) low response rates

(2) nonuniform population, including motivations for response such as anger


Risk factors for non-response may include:

(1) male gender

(2) younger age

(3) Medicaid or self-pay for insurance

(4) type of service used, especially one with little engagement

(5) failure to encounter the survey

(6) too busy to complete

(7) inconvenience, especially if the survey is long and complicated

(8) illness

(9) lack of persistence in follow-up of nonresponders


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.