Recommendation 3: Develop a Recruitment and Retention Database

It is important to establish a database to record data related to recruitment and retention. This should include information on recruitment sites, their activities and yield of enrollees, issues such as source of participants, reasons for ineligibility, reasons for lack of interest (if a participant declines), and timing of, and reasons for, attrition.

Recommendation 4: Adopt a Community-Based Participatory Research Approach for Recruitment and Retention

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an approach to research that engages the community in every stage of the research process. In a CBPR approach, community members are equal partners with researchers in shaping the study questions, developing the intervention and a recruitment and retention plan, collecting data, and interpreting and disseminating results (Israel et al., 2005).

On the basis of CBPR principles, community members actively participate in the development of a plan for recruitment and retention and facilitate the recruitment process. This can be extremely helpful to enrollment and retention for several reasons. First, a CBPR approach elevates the value of the research for the community and researchers. Collaborating with community members to identify salient issues important to a particular population (bottom-up approach) rather than identifying an issue that may not be reflective of a community’s needs (traditional top-down approach) may improve a population’s enthusiasm and participation in clinical research (De las Nueces, Hacker, DiGirolamo, & Hicks, 2012). Second, a CBPR approach creates a bridge between researchers and the community. Community members are viewed as partners, not subjects. Therefore, the community is likely to become more invested in the research and study outcomes. Lastly, a CBPR helps to establish a mutual trust.

Methods for community engagement vary according to the values, needs, and previous research experience of the community and the needs and characteristics of the study. Community Advisory Boards (CABs) have emerged as one strategy for establishing partnerships that promote community consultation in socially sensitive research (Morin et al., 2008).

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