Collaborating with Schools for Recruitment of Participants

Monday, 22 July 2013

Robin Bartlett, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC

Learning Objective 1: explore benefits of collaborating with schools in order to recruit study participants.

Learning Objective 2: examine strategies to promote successful collaboration with schools.

Purpose: When children and families are the focus of a research project, schools can be a viable recruitment location. Since most children attend school and school ends at predictable times, school buildings can be a convenient location for the conduct of research if trust and partnerships between researchers and school personnel are cultivated. In addition, schools are typically considered safe by students and parents and because they are a familiar location, directions and transportation issues may be less challenging. The purpose of this presentation is to examine issues to consider when forging relationships with schools and to identify strategies for successfully entering into partnerships.

Methods: A series of three intervention studies with middle school age girls and their mothers were conducted using schools as the site of recruitment and intervention delivery for girls.

Results: Developing relationships between researchers and school personnel is critical. The topic under study can influence whether school leaders will permit researchers to recruit study participants from the school. Incentives or staff salary support for the school may be an important factor in a school’s decision to allow researchers to have access to their students and building. Detailed protocols for recruitment and intervention delivery must be agreed upon by researchers and school leaders. Mechanisms for protection of students and families must be in place in order for schools to participate in collaborations with researchers. School IRB or other approvals may be required.

Conclusion: Schools can be a viable source for recruitment of child and family study participants. In addition, it can be a potential venue for the conduct of research studies. Researchers must develop collaborative relationships with school personnel and have detailed protocols in order for effective partnerships to form.