Few researchers have focused on the challenges of recruiting postmenopausal women for community-based research. Researchers have reported that multiple methods may be needed to recruit the required number of subjects. One contemporary approach to recruitment is use of Facebook. More studies are needed examining Facebook as a recruitment strategy.
The aim of the study was to examine which recruitment methods were most successful and cost-effective in recruiting postmenopausal women for a randomized controlled trial on bone loss.
Subjects were 276 postmenopausal women who had osteopenia and were within 5 years of menopause. Multiple methods were used to recruit women. To determine which methods were successful, women were asked how they learned about the study. Descriptive data were used to examine recruitment numbers as well as to determine the cost-effectiveness and enrollment efficiency of recruitment methods.
Healthcare provider letters yielded the highest number of enrolled subjects (n = 58), followed by postcard mailings (n = 47), and Facebook posts (n = 44). Eleven subjects were referred by family and friends, five subjects were from newspaper or television, and two were from digital ads. Cost of recruitment per subject enrolled was highest with digital ads and postcard mailings.
Recruitment could be more costly and time-consuming than anticipated. Recruitment using direct-targeted mailings, such as provider letters and postcards, was successful in our study and has been effective in previous studies reviewed. Facebook was successful for recruitment in our study and may continue to be useful for recruitment in the future, as the number of women accessing Facebook continues to increase.
Nancy L. Waltman, PhD, APRN-CNP, is Professor, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Lincoln.
Kara M. Smith, MS, is Project Study Coordinator, College of Allied Health Professions, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.
Kevin A. Kupzyk, PhD, is Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.
Joan M. Lappe, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Professor, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Lynn R. Mack, MD, is Associate Professor, College of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.
Laura D. Bilek, PhD, PT, is Associate Professor, College of Allied Health Professions, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.
Accepted for publication November 11, 2018.
The National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award R01NR015029 supported the research reported in this publication. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Study data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools hosted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Service and support are provided by the Research Information Technology Office, which is funded by the Vice Chancellor for Research.
Ethical Conduct of Research: The institutional review board at the University of Nebraska Medical Center approved all recruitment methods used in this R01-funded study. Written consent was obtained from participants at the time of screening and again at the time of enrollment using two separate documents.
Clinical Trial Registration:
Trial registry: Heartland Osteoporosis Prevention Study.
Trial number: NCT02186600.
Date of registration: July 10, 2014.
Date of first participant: February, 2015.
Link: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02186600
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
Corresponding author: Nancy L. Waltman, PhD, APRN-CNP, College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 550 North 19th Street, Lincoln, NE 68508-0620 (e-mail: email@example.com).
Online date: March 4, 2018