Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

17348 Recruiting Asian American Women: Tailoring Non-Traditional Strategies to Recruit Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Women Into a Health Survey Study

Thursday, January 12, 2012: 2:00 PM
Constitution E (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Yut Yang, MSW, Project Coordinator, Boston University, Boston, MA
Hyeouk Hahm, PhD, Assistant Professor, Boston University, Boston, MA
Anna Kim, BA, Outreach Coordinator, Boston University, Boston, MA
Trinh Trang, Outreach Coordinator, Boston University, Boston, MA
Background and Purpose: Asian Americans have been viewed as a “hard to reach” population due to language, cultural, and socio-demographic barriers. Few studies recruit large numbers of Asian Americans or gather sufficient ethnic-specific data. From January 2010 and April 2011, the Asian American Women's Sexual Health Initiative Project (AWSHIP) collected 628 surveys of young Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese women who are 1.5 or 2nd generation and are children of immigrant parents. We identified barriers to recruitment, developed strategies to ensure group representation, and met regularly to revise strategies. We describe our recruitment experiences, provide our rationales for implementing particular strategies, and make suggestions for future recruitment efforts.

Method: We used both traditional and nontraditional methods to recruit adequate numbers of Asian American women into each ethnic subgroup. Traditional methods are strategies that have a universal reach and include television ads, print ads, mailings and flyers. Of these, we primarily used flyers which we posted in publicly accessible locations (i.e. supermarkets, street corners). Non-traditional methods are community-based approaches that try to include less represented groups. These include reaching out through churches, community events, health fairs, and key-informants. We tailored or created our own non-traditional methods to specifically target our range of women. For example, we used key informants or staff participation to gain access to closed community groups and events. Once we gained access, another key strategy was creating interest and stake with individuals, communities, and groups, who could further disseminate information about our study.

Results: Our final sample included 628 women out of the 679 women who made contact with us, a yield of 92.5%. We were able to gather substantial numbers into each subgroup with an ethnic breakdown of: 342 Chinese women (54.5%), 133 Korean women (21.1%), 106 Vietnamese women (16.9%), and 47 mixed ethnic women (7.5%). Our collaborations with over 10 community agencies and more than 15 institution-based groups resulted in participation and involvement in more than 20 community or group events. These activities yielded over 350 participants. We emphasized the importance of our work in personal interactions (i.e. while ensuring informed consent). From these, we received approximately 170 personal referrals from former participants and staff members. The remaining 140 participants found our information through traditional approaches such as flyers or responded to saw internet ads.

Conclusions and Implications: We used non-traditional strategies in creative and flexible ways to better target our groups of interest. Collaborating with key informants, community agencies, and institutional groups was essential to gaining access to less represented groups. Participants were also valuable and instilling a sense of importance and stake helped facilitate more referrals. Future studies that seek to recruit or work with similar groups should become familiar with the barriers that these groups face and use a mix of strategies that are tailored to each particular group.