Recruitment and participation of a survey in a public-private primary care setting: Experience from the QUALICOPC Malaysia

Masliyana Husin*, Norazida Ab Rahman, Xin Ci Wong, Kamaliah Mohamad Noh, Seng Fah Tong, Willemijn Schäfer, Wienke Boerma, Rifat Atun, Sheamini Sivasampu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aim: The purpose of this paper is to describe the recruitment strategies, the response rates and the reasons for non-response of Malaysian public and private primary care doctors in an international survey on the quality, cost and equity in primary care. Background: Low research participation by primary care doctors, especially those working in the private sector, is a challenge to quality benchmarking. Methods: Primary care doctors were sampled through multistage sampling. The first stage-sampling unit was the primary care clinics, which were randomly sampled from five states in Malaysia to reflect their proportions in two strata - sector (public/ private) and location (urban/rural). Strategies through endorsement, personalised invitation, face-to-face interview and non-monetary incentives were used to recruit public and private doctors. Data collection was carried out by fieldworkers through structured questionnaires. Findings: A total of 221 public and 239 private doctors participated in the study. Among the public doctors, 99.5% response rates were obtained. Among the private doctors, a 32.8% response rate was obtained. Totally, 30% of private clinics were uncontactable by telephone, and when these were excluded, the overall response rate is 46.8%. The response rate of the private clinics across the states ranges from 31.5% to 34.0%. A total of 167 answered the nonrespondent questionnaire. Among the non-respondents, 77.4 % were male and 22.6% female (P = 0.011). There were 33.6% of doctors older than 65 years (P = 0.003) and 15.9% were from the state of Sarawak (P = 0.016) when compared to non-respondents. Reason for nonparticipation included being too busy (51.8%), not interested (32.9%), not having enough patients (9.1%) and did not find it beneficial (7.9%). Our study demonstrated the feasibility of obtaining favourable response rate in a survey involving doctors from public and private primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51
JournalPrimary Health Care Research and Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Primary care doctors
  • Primary healthcare
  • Recruitment
  • Response rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Care Planning


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