Biological specimens for community-based surveillance studies: Method of recruitment matters

  • Brenda L. Coleman University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • Iris A. Gutmanis St. Joseph's Health Care, London, ON
  • Susan J. Bondy University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • Allison J. McGeer Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Marina I. Salvadori Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, London, ON
  • Marie Louie Provincial Laboratory of Public Health, Calgary, AB
Keywords: biological specimens, data collection, health surveys, interviews

Abstract

Studies requiring the collection of biological specimens are often difficult to perform and costly. We compare face-to-face and telephone interviews to determine which is more effective for return of self-collected rectal swabs from subjects living in rural and semi-rural areas of Ontario, Canada. People interviewed face-to-face in 2006-2007 were asked to provide a rectal swab while the interviewer waited. Those interviewed by telephone were sent a package and asked to return the swab by mail, with one follow-up reminder call. Telephone interviewing resulted in a higher response rate for the completion of household and individual-level questionnaires. However, face-to-face interviews resulted in a significantly higher proportion of interviewees who returned swabs making the participation rate higher for this mode of contact (33.7 versus 25.0 percent). Using multivariable logistic regression, higher rates of rectal swab return were associated with face-to-face interviewing while adjusting for the impact of household size and respondent age and sex. For studies requiring the submission of intimate biological samples, face-to-face interviews can be expected to provide a higher rate of return than telephone interviews.

Author Biographies

Brenda L. Coleman, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON and Clinical Scientist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON
Iris A. Gutmanis, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, ON
Ph.D. Director of Evaluation & Research, Specialized Geriatric Services, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, ON and Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistic, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON
Susan J. Bondy, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Allison J. McGeer, Mount Sinai Hospital
MD, FRCPC, Director of Infection Control, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON and Professor, Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Marina I. Salvadori, Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, London, ON
MD, FRCPC, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant Children's Hospital of Western Ontario, London, ON and Associate Professor of Paediatrics, University of Western Ontario, London, ON
Marie Louie, Provincial Laboratory of Public Health, Calgary, AB
MD, Medical Director, Provincial Laboratory for Public Health, Calgary, AB and Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Infectious Disease, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
Published
2011-12-22
How to Cite
Coleman, B. L., Gutmanis, I. A., Bondy, S. J., McGeer, A. J., Salvadori, M. I., & Louie, M. (2011). Biological specimens for community-based surveillance studies: Method of recruitment matters. Survey Research Methods, 5(3), 117-124. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2011.v5i3.4671
Section
Articles