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Table 1

Questionnaire distribution and response rates


Number distributed

Number received

Response rate

Festival 1 - 1995




Festival 1 Site 1 1997




Site 2 - 1997

500 (375)


25.8% (34.4%)

Festival 2 - 1997

485 (100)


4.7% (23.0%)

Scottish booster




Other distributors

700 (50?)


0.4% (6%)

No ref number





Response rates from festival stalls where the survey was actively promoted by researchers or staff were overwhelmingly more successful at recruiting users, and compare favourably with response rates from previous years. Those distributed at other festival stalls by third parties both gave lower, but still respectable, response rates (from returns, it appears that only 100 forms were distributed at the second festival, and 375 at the second site at the main festival). The lowest response rates were those batches sent to individuals expressing an interest in distributing questionnaires to friends or customers, in most cases it is clear that no forms were distributed, one batch was returned uncompleted. The Scottish booster sample achieved a similar response rate (8.5%) to the direct mail returns (13%) in our 1994 survey. Six forms were returned with the serial numbers torn off.

The wide discrepancy in response rates between collected and postal returns, indicates the importance of actively promoting the completion of the survey form on-site, providing facilities to do so, and collecting forms when completed. Response rates from postal returns may be improved by provision of printed addressed envelopes.

A small but significant number of respondents (n=55, 4.8%) had completed a previous drug questionnaire, of these 10 had completed our 1994 questionnaire, and 3 remembered completing our 1984 questionnaire, both of which had been distributed at the same main festival site in previous years - one respondent had completed both previous surveys. Of the 43 others who responded "yes" to the previous questionnaire question, it is not known how many had completed IDMU surveys and how many had completed other drug surveys (e.g. British Crime Survey, schools surveys etc.).

Other questions involved patterns of drug use, ages of first use, contact with the law, best and/ or worst drug experiences, health problems and/or benefits and drug advice and treatment. Where not considered in detail here, those results will be published separately in due course.

The consistent methodology as used in previous studies by the same authors in 1994 and 1984, allows some comparisons over time. There were minor differences in some of the questions in different versions, with other questions omitted.

It is intended to conduct similar and extended surveys in the future, in order to publish results on a regular basis, and to maintain a database allowing year on year comparisons and novel analyses on consolidated data sets.

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