Table 1

Response rates (%) for military studies by method of contact, reasons for non-response, and rate of complaints

Method of contactResponse rate (%)Refusal (%)Wrong address or number (%)Person not available (%)Reason unknown (%)Complaints (%)
Face to face contact researcher
MCTC* (n=135)134 (99.3)1 (0.7)NANANA0 (0)
Telic (n=6258)3088 (49.3)26 (0.4)NA3144 (50.2)NA1 (0.02)
Telephone contact by researcher
Gulf 19 (n=200)139 (69.5)22 (11)11 (5.5)NA28 (14.0)2 (1)
Veterans17 (n=496)315 (63.5)56 (11.3)125 (25.2)NANA2 (0.4)
Telic舤 (n=675)61 (9.0)34 (5.0)514 (76.1)66 (9.8)NA1 (0.1)
Postal questionnaire sent by researcher
Gulf 1 (1st wave) (n=11 710)94511 (38.5)7 (0.06)418 (3.6)NA6774 (57.8)2 (0.02)
Gulf 1 (2nd wave) (n=7192)91684 (23.4)163 (2.3)401 (5.6)NA4194 (68.7)0 (0)
Gulf 1 (3rd wave) (n=5345)91308 (24.5)315 (5.9)393 (7.4)NA3329 (62.3)0 (0)
Telic舤 (n=15 895)5526 (34.8)21 (0.1)880 (5.5)NA9468 (59.6)4 (0.03)
Contact by government departments
Veterans17§ (n=65)8 (12.3)NA10 (15.4)NA47 (72.3)NA
Administrative discharges* (n=6)0NA5 (83.3)1 (16.7)NANA
  • * Study of post discharge mentoring of vulnerable service leavers, the Military Correction and Training Centre Colchester and those who had received an administrative discharge (in progress).

  • 舤 Study of the physical and psychological health of those who deployed on Operation Telic (in progress). The study involves postal questionnaires being sent to participants and base visits where participants are invited to fill in their questionnaires with researchers to hand for advice.

  • 舥 Studies (or parts of studies) where initial contact from the research team is established on the telephone. For the Gulf 1 study and the Telic study, this was attempted telephone contact with people who had not returned the postal questionnaire. For the veterans' study, it was telephone contact with individuals who had taken part in a previous study and had consented to follow-up. The low response rate in the Telic study reflects the fact that tracing is ongoing.

  • § The Department of Work and Pensions offered to contact by letter (on our behalf) those whose contact details we were unable to trace.

  • ¶ The Ministry of Defence offered to contact service leavers on our behalf. They were able to reach only one individual who had been given an administrative discharge, and he was unavailable at the time of the call. This methodology was subsequently abandoned.