Do animation videos increase participation in national health surveys? A randomised controlled trial

Anne Illemann Christensen*, Cathrine Juel Lau, Hanne Stald Poulsen, Ola Ekholm


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Background: Declining response proportions in surveys have been observed internationally. Improving response proportions is important for the generalizability of the outcome. The aim of this study was to examine the potential of animation videos to improve response proportions and sample composition in health surveys. 

Methods: A randomized trial was embedded in the Danish National Health Survey 2021 (n = 186,113) where the use of animation videos in the digital invitation letter was tested as a mean to increase response proportion. The effect of both demographic-targeted videos and a general video was tested. The sample was stratified into four subsamples; (1) individuals with non-western background and a non-Danish citizenship (n = 9,956), (2) men aged 16–24 years (n = 12,481), (3) women aged 75 years or older (n = 7,815) and (4) the remaining individuals (n = 155,861). The fourth subsample was randomized into two equal sized groups; a group receiving the general video and a control group receiving no video. Each of the first three subsamples was subsequently randomized into three subgroups with 25% receiving the target group video, 25% receiving the general video and 50% receiving no video. A total of four reminders (one digital and three postal) were sent to the eligible population. 

Results: The use of animation videos resulted in similar or slightly lower overall response proportion compared to the control group. The different animation videos were found to have heterogeneous effects on response proportions. A positive effect was found among men aged 16–24 years before the delivery of the postal reminder for the targeted animation video compared to no video (odds ratio: 1.13; 95% confidence interval: 1.02–1.26). Overall, the targeted animation videos tended to produce higher response proportions than the general animation video. 

Conclusions: The heterogeneous effects of the videos suggest that there is some potential for the use of animation videos to improve response proportions and sample composition. The content, target group and timing of evaluation seem to be important for the animation videos to be successful. This warrants further research to better identify in which contexts, in which subgroups and under which circumstances, animation videos are useful to increase response proportions. Trial registration: ID: NCT05520242, registered 08/26/2022.

TidsskriftBMC Medical Research Methodology
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 14. aug. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The Danish National Health Survey was funded by The Capital Region, Region Zealand, The South Denmark Region, The Central Denmark Region, The North Denmark Region, Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


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