Minimising dropout / attrition rate in longitudinal studies

Drop out rates depend on a lot of factors (as I'm sure you're aware); to name a few: 

How far apart are the different parts of the study?
How generous are the rewards? 
How long do the different parts take?

We've had studies with 0% dropout rate and as high as 50%. A typical study would be somewhere in between these extremes. An independent study by Kothe and Ling found attrition of <25% over 1 year. Shorter longitudinal studies following best practices can expect better retention than this. 

There are some steps you can take to minimise the attrition rate:

* You should clearly communicate your study information (i.e. expectations of participants, reward structure, time gap between the phases of your study).

* You could also screen for those with at least 10 previous submissions, to ensure you are obtaining active and committed participants. Inexperienced participants are more likely to drop out. 

* Pay a generous reward and offering bonus incentives to participants who complete all parts of your longitudinal study is also a good way to minimise attrition - you can read about how to do this here: Bonus Payments


Related articles:


Kothe, E. J., & Ling, M. (2019, September 6). Retention of participants recruited to a one-year longitudinal study via Prolific.


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