It is important to be clear about when and where patients will be recruited for the study. The first thing to clarify is how participants will find out about a study, for example ‘posters will be placed in oncology clinics at the County Hospital’ or ‘patients attending the art therapy group will be handed leaflets at the end of their weekly sessions’. Then it is important to plan who will approach potential participants and when, for example ‘patients will be approached by a member of the study team at the weekly art therapy group 1 week after receiving the leaflet’.

The recruitment plan should explain when eligibility will be assessed and information provided, and how long participants will have to consider if they would like to be involved (e.g. ‘participants will have up to 2 weeks to consider whether they would like to be involved’; or if the intervention has fixed dates, ‘participants will be able to sign up until 1 week prior to the intervention commencing’). If a standard information and consent process is being followed, the sentence below may be included:

The researcher will check the participant’s eligibility criteria and explain the study, as well as providing the participant information sheet, before taking informed consent

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