Recruitment in health and social science research is a critically important but often overlooked step in conducting successful research. The challenges associated with recruitment pertain to multiple factors such as enrolling groups with vulnerabilities, obtaining geographic, cultural, and ethnic representation within study samples, supporting the participation of less accessible populations such as older adults, and developing networks to support recruitment.
This paper presents the experiences of two early career researchers in recruiting community-based samples of older adults, their caregivers, and associated health providers.
Challenges and facilitators in recruiting two community-based qualitative research samples are identified and discussed in relation to the literature.
Challenges included: identifying potential participants, engaging referral partners, implementing multi-methods, and achieving study sample diversity. Facilitators included: making connections in the community, building relationships, and drawing on existing networks.
Findings suggest the need for greater recognition of the importance of having clear frameworks and strategies to address recruitment prior to study commencement as well as the need to have clear outreach strategies to optimize inclusion of marginalized groups. Recommendations and a guide are provided to inform the development of recruitment approaches of early career researchers in health and social science research.