Getting Ready to Recruit
Things to consider when preparing to recruit Heading link
This stage involves developing the materials needed to recruit participants, obtaining feedback on them as well as preparing retention strategies for participants.
Planning Accordion Heading link
These are some items that you may need to develop to successfully disseminate information about your study, and to recruit and retain study volunteers.
- Screening forms in paper and electronic
- Consent and assent forms
- Flyers (handouts, posters).
- Social media posts.
- Phone and in person recruitment scripts
- Recruitment letters for different audiences, e.g. physicians to share with their patients, prospective participants, community partners.
- Email templates
- Study website
- Create a short URL, QR Code (make sure they work)
- List of places where you will post flyers
If you are using social media
- Open a social media account in one or more platforms
- Develop a script to use to communicate with prospective participants
- Develop social media recruitment plan to submit to IRB
- Develop multiple versions of the ads you’re planning on using to submit to IRB
Other administrative items
- Set up system to compensate participants on a timely manner.
- Obtain authorization to purchase gift cards (if applicable).
- Consider gift cards that are convenient and easy to redeem.
- Find out how much cash you can request and how often you can replenish.
All materials need to be submitted to IRB for approval. For support and guidance on issues related to protection of study participants and ethical conduct of research, contact the Regulatory Core.
- Show images that show the diversity of people you are trying to recruit.
- Convey the importance of the study.
- It is not too crowded.
- Check readability for 6th grade level in recruitment materials and protocols
- Offers different ways of contacting the study team. Consider including a brief form to follow up providing information for you to contact participant.
- Develop a social media recruitment plan to submit to IRB.
- Develop several versions of social media advertisements (different versions to use at different times in the study). Submit all versions to IRB in advance.
- You can use paid as well as free ads
- Ask your partner organizations to post your ads in their platform
- Identify affinity groups in social media where you can post information about the study
Recruitment letters and other messaging:
- Develop recruitment letter to send to clinic administrators, physicians, other partners
- You can introduce your study via direct mail. Get feedback on your letter to make sure it is engaging.
- Develop messages to distribute via listserv.
- Develop scripts to contact and screen prospective participants
- Develop content for website
- Develop tracking tools to document your recruitment progress.
- May include data collection instruments, forms, and protocols.
- Professionally translate materials in other languages (E.g., GMR Translation)
- Field test all the translated versions.
Obtain feedback on your materials:
- Get feedback on your materials and strategies BEFORE submitting for IRB approval
- Obtain feedback on recruitment materials, forms, surveys, and protocols from community members
- Ask a native speaker to double-check translated materials
What types of incentives will you provide to study participants as tokens of appreciation for their contributions to your study/work?
Study participants will make important contributions to your work and it’s important to acknowledge their contribution and time by offering fair compensation. Often participants will gladly contribute even when financial incentives are not provided. It is up to the research team to make a compelling case why prospective participants should consider participating.
- Cash incentives
- Direct deposit
- Gift cards to accessible businesses
- Entry to raffle drawing when reaching milestones
- Other incentives, such as promotional items
Note: Providing incentives at each data collection point can help with retention.
Calculate amount of participants that you can recruit per month/week. Take into account characteristics of your target population, your internal capacity, methodology, etc.
EXAMPLE: To recruit 300 participants in a year:
- You’ll need to recruit 25 participants a month.
- Plan on recruiting 6-7 participants a week.
Based on the strategies you are using, you may want to track which social media post or ad is performing best, whether your sample is diverse, and what changes you may need to make to increase recruitment.