SAGE Journals

Engaging Public Health Alumni in the Tracking of Career Trends: Results From a Large-Scale Experiment on Survey Fielding Mode

Posted on 2023-05-03 - 00:11

We sought to understand the relative impact of fielding mode on response rate among public health alumni.


As part of the 2021 Career Trends Survey of alumni from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, we designed a fielding mode experiment to ascertain whether a paper survey, a postcard with a custom survey link (“postcard push-to-web”), a mobile telephone call or text (mobile), or an email invitation would garner the highest response rates. Invitations were randomly assigned from available contact information.


Of 8531 alumni invited, 1671 alumni (19.6%) completed the survey. Among the initial fielding modes, the paper survey had the highest response rate (28%), followed by mobile (19%), email (10%), and postcard push-to-web (10%). More robust recent engagement with alumni relations, paper survey invitation or mode switch, and recent graduation were all significantly associated with a higher likelihood of response.


Paper and mobile invitations had the highest response rates to our survey among public health alumni. Findings from this fielding mode experiment are relevant to schools and programs of public health seeking to capture similar information among their alumni, especially given current trends in investment in the public health workforce.


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