As a result of the recruitment challenges I experienced in my project I have compiled some suggestions that could be useful to CBPR researchers who are planning for the recruitment phase of their study.
1. Clarify expectations
Clarity about expectations of all parties in the partnership well before commencing is important. Clarifying formal research protocols to the research partner (organisation) can help in gaining cooperation to achieve recruitment goals as will the explicit statements from the research partner about its expectations from the research and the researchers.
2. Identify key community members
Identify and get to know key community members. They are able to take on the role of mediator to physically introduce researchers and the research to people in their networks and to confirm the identity and trustworthiness of the researchers. Personal introductions by a community member who is well liked and respected, can be more valuable to the community for understanding the presence of the researchers and the project, than written information and consent form.
3. Be specific
Avoid promoting the research project with a nebulous or too broad a topic. People seem to engage with research less reluctantly if there is a more specific topic being discussed, and once engaged the opportunity opens up for exploring topics further afield.
4. Do CBPR training
The complexities involved in managing a relationship with a partner organization and the community, highlight the importance of training for CBPR researchers prior to commencing contact with members of the community they are to research with. Being armed with knowledge of potential recruitment pitfalls with particular communities, means that the researcher would be better placed to plan for these and therefore design the research and ethics application to include a broader range of recruitment options so that ethics requirements do not impede or prolong recruitment.
Image: Jim Frazier: Flickr.com