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Challenges in Qualitative Interview Participant Recruitment: Perspectives on Lifestyle Modification in Close-Knit Disadvantaged Communities

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Recruiting participants to qualitative research projects can be difficult and so there is a need to plan the recruitment strategy in detail. This case study discusses some of the practicalities of recruiting participants to qualitative research studies, including identifying likely places where potential participants may be found, deciding how to approach them, finding out whether there are ways to advertise the project in the study location and finding out whether there is anyone who can help find and recruit participants. To illustrate these issues in action, this case study discusses the difficulties that were experienced in recruiting participants to an in-depth interview study of the perspectives of former miners who were smokers or recent ex-smokers on stopping smoking. This group, located in U.K. close-knit former mining communities, may be considered hard-to-reach from a health point of view at the best of times and particularly so on a lifestyle modification topic such as this. Learning points from the study included the value of advertising the project through local newsletters and organizations, the benefit of finding local informal gatekeepers (i.e., people who will help recruit participants), and the need to plan a series of additional approaches to use as contingency measures in case initial attempts to recruit participants fail.

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