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Challenges in Conducting Online Survey Research of the Relationship Between Unit-Level Perceived Team Trustworthiness and Clinical and Operational Outcomes

By: , , , & Edited by: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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When conducting online survey research, obtaining an adequate response rate to have meaningful, reliable data can be challenging. In our study, examining hospital unit-level perceived trustworthiness, a 40% response rate was needed to adequately reflect the degree to which unit staff perceived one another as trustworthy. In addition, approximately 150 units were needed to analyze the relationship between unit-level perceived trustworthiness and selected operational and quality outcomes. In spite of following best practices for survey research (e.g., careful communication planning, short survey length), most of the units’ response rates were inadequate to include the units in analyses. To gain a better understanding of what motivates unit staff to participate in a survey and what “turns off” unit staff from participating, we collaborated with one of the site study coordinators to conduct focus groups with nursing staff, managers, and leaders. Following changes identified from the focus groups, along with implementing additional online survey best practices, the number of units which met the 40% response rate increased from <20% of eligible units to >30% at the original hospital. At two subsequent hospitals, 47% and 50% of eligible units met the 40% response rate threshold.

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