Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Lisa K. Berger, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee , Audrey L. Begun, PhD, Ohio State University and Laura L. Otto-Salaj, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Sunday, January 17, 2010: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Seacliff C (Hyatt Regency)
The successful completion of any social work intervention study is based, in part, on the ability of study investigators and study team members to recruit and retain appropriate and sufficient numbers of research participants. Research texts and other relevant research literature oftentimes present adequate and elegant descriptions of topics related to recruitment (e.g., power analysis and randomization strategies) but rarely address directly the process of participant recruitment and retention in intervention studies. As a result, many social work intervention researchers may either overestimate or underestimate their ability to address challenges related to participant recruitment. To address this gap, this workshop session will begin with a description of four phases of the participant recruitment process in intervention research: (1) generating initial contacts; (2) informed consent procedures; (3) screening for eligibility; and (4) enrollment and retention. These four phases form the basis for a discussion of methodological issues and cost-effectiveness calculation strategies. Three social work intervention researchers will relate real-world research experiences to these methodological issues. The participant recruitment methodological issues to be addressed include the generalizability of study findings, human subjects' protections, and the cost-effectiveness of participant recruitment strategies. That is, in order to generalize intervention research findings, diverse and therefore representative participant samples need to be recruited. Yet, the recruitment of diverse participants into social work intervention studies may be complicated when members of certain groups differ in their willingness or ability to participate in intervention research. Furthermore, the process of consenting participants into intervention studies employed by study investigators and study team members affects the degree to which participants are ethically recruited and retained in intervention research. Finally, the cost-effectiveness of recruitment strategies, including the consideration of oftentimes overlooked screening eligibility costs, needs to be balanced by the scientific responsibility to recruit and retain diverse participants into intervention studies. Workshop participants will learn practical strategies to successfully address these participant recruitment methodological issues. Strategies include culturally sensitive direct mailings to potential intervention research participants, multimedia recruitment methods with a wide reach such as television and radio, and forming and maintaining relationships with agency social work practitioners who can provide participant referrals. Additional strategies such as rolling consent or intermittent informed consent interviews throughout study participation can remind participants of their human subjects' rights such as the right to withdraw their study participation at any time. Finally, strategies for assessing and monitoring the general effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of recruitment efforts will be presented and include the utilization of the ratios of Recruitment Yield Effectiveness and Recruitment Yield Cost-Effectiveness. The workshop format will include PowerPoint presentations (including handouts), a bibliography of peer-reviewed articles on participant recruitment in intervention research, and time for discussion and questions. A sample research case also will be worked through in group process. In addition, each workshop participant will receive a website address for accessing participant recruitment materials such as example brochures and newspaper advertising. These materials may be downloaded at no cost and can be modified to meet the needs of social work intervention researchers.
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