Many NIH-funded research studies depend on being able to have access to the largest number of people possible to ensure enrollment goals of qualified participant numbers are met. Text messaging is the most popular channel on mobile phones. 99% of mobile phones are text messaging-enabled and 90% of text messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of receipt. With the ubiquitous nature of the SMS channel, text message surveys are becoming increasingly more popular in public health research as a data collection method for studies with a variety of participant demographics and age groups.
Below we’ve listed 4 reasons to use text message surveys in public health research.
1. Deploy Surveys Accessible to Everyone
Phones are literally always on hand, with 90% of mobile users keeping their phones within arm’s reach 24/7. By deploying public health surveys via text messaging, participants can respond to surveys instantly, wherever they are, providing real-time data collection important to your study requirements.
2. Improve Privacy and the Assurance of Truthful Responses
Telephone surveys can deter participants from responding to hard questions that may be embarrassing depending on their location. SMS surveys in public health research enable participants to respond on their own time, privately, so they are free to respond openly and honestly without the fear of judgment.
3. Scheduled and Automated Reminders Ensure Compliance
Text messaging provides the ability to time the scheduling of surveys and send gentle reminders to go out after a certain time has passed, ensuring completion of surveys. For example, in nutrition studies where 2 surveys may need to be completed each day, the timing of completion is crucial to getting the most accurate information. By sending a reminder for non-completion after a set amount of time, researchers can ensure they are gathering the most accurate data when they need it.
4. Provide Incentives
Partial data collection is extremely frustrating to research teams. Depending on the type of study you are conducting, incentives will be a part of a participant’s interest in completing your surveys. If you are looking for unique methods of incentivizing your participants, consider using promo codes or coupons delivered via text message. Find a text message surveys in public research software company that will enable you to utilize a csv of promo codes, deliver one per participant after they finish their survey and increase the odds of completion.
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