Session: Incentives to Participants in Community-Based Research: Who Decides What Is Reasonable? (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

203 Incentives to Participants in Community-Based Research: Who Decides What Is Reasonable?

Saturday, January 14, 2023: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Hospitality 1 - Room 443, 4th Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods
Sondra Fogel, PhD, University of South Florida
Sondra Fogel, PhD, University of South Florida, Stephanie Rosado, MSW, University of South Florida, Jerome Galea, PhD, University of South Florida and Cheryl Hyde, PhD, Tempe University
Incentives, monetary or otherwise, are a standard research practice used to compensate participants for their time and contributions and to enhance volunteer recruitment and retention. As such, their use in research plans is often expected. The analysis of who is compensated, the type of the incentive provided, and how much or often the incentive is offered, is a common area of oversight for Institutional Research Boards (IRB). In fact, IRBs can recommend modifications to research incentive plans if committee members assess the incentive to be coercive. How IRB members determine what is inappropriate may be based on disciplinary norms, or other external influences. Furthermore, federal agencies that are funding many of the nationally competitive awards are also questioning what an incentive is (i.e., food for a focus group), or how much is a reasonable incentive for participants in a research program.

Given that incentives are an integral part the research participant recruitment and retention process, it is critical for researchers with a community-based intervention or action focus, to understand the ethical implications of research incentives. Social work researchers should understand and consider the ramifications of research incentives, especially among marginalized, oppressed, and vulnerable individuals and communities who are or may be more vulnerable to coercion. Research incentives may have unintended consequences for the participant and or community. Incentives could be unintentionally exploitive especially when considering already marginalized populations whether in the United States or in resource constricted settings/countries. Thus, discussions about what constitutes an appropriate and ethical incentive to those who join with community-based researchers to inform or intervene in their communities or neighborhoods warrants more attention from macro focused social work researchers as it remains an understudied issue.

This roundtable session will facilitate a conversation about how community-based researchers currently use incentives in their work, and lead to how we can engage in the thoughtful use of incentives to demonstrate partnership equity and appreciation of insider knowledge. Presenters will focus particular attention on the following topics: 1) exploring the use of incentives to engage local participants in community-based research, 2) issues in incentivizing participants during international research projects, 3) ethical considerations of using incentives with marginalized or hidden community members, and 4) avenues for future research on this important topic. Our goal is to fuel conversation that will promote increased attention to this issue in community-based research to further our understanding of how we build partnerships in our areas to battle inequities and build lasting solutions.

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