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Table 1 Summary of techniques used in the intervention letter

From: Improving postal survey response using behavioural science: a nested randomised control trial

Technique Example detailed in the intervention letter Dominant Rationale or Theoretical Framework
University sponsorship as the dominant letterhead Large University College London (UCL) logo placed at the top of the letter, with National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) logo placed at the bottom right. Systematic review evidence [8, 9]
Salient and attractive letterhead to increase likelihood of attention and relevance Coloured letterhead used (blue logo) Salience (MINDSPACE) [22]
Authoritative messenger to convey importance and obligation “I am the Co-Director of the Cancer Screening Group” Messenger (MINDSPACE) [22]
Emphasising importance to elicit a sense of duty and personal value “important research study “
“Your involvement is really valuable”
Ego (MINDSPACE) [22]
Referring to emotion to elicit personal connection “how your test result has made you feel” Affect (MINDSPACE) [22]
Conveying social norms by referencing the majority target group “most women find…rewarding.”
“result letters better for other women”
Norms (MINDSPACE) [22]
Language to convey personalisation “I am interested in your particular test result”
“I’d like to hear your views”
“particularly interested in hearing from you”
Systematic review evidence [8, 9]
Perception of exclusivity and possible sanction (i.e., missing out) “I am only inviting a select number...” Ego and Incentive (MINDSPACE) [22]
Salience and visual breaking Coloured subheadings (“Your role” and “Optional interview”) to break up paragraphs Salience (MINDSPACE) [22]
Perceived sanction in bold to elicit loss-aversion “You have three take part” Incentives (MINDSPACE) [22]
Minimise short-term costs (e.g., low effort) and emphasise gains “easy and quick” “enjoyable and rewarding”
“You just need to fill in… the short questionnaire”
Incentives (MINDSPACE) [22]
Assurance of confidentiality of survey answers “your answers will be kept strictly confidential” Systematic review evidence [8, 9]
Coloured written signature A signature using bright blue ink at the end of the letter Systematic review evidence [8]
  1. Note: MINDSPACE refers to a behavioural science framework within the MINDSPACE Report [22]