There is no shortage of qualitative research scholarly articles discussing the challenges of recruiting hard-to-reach participants. When it comes to recruiting for medical studies, finding participants who represent a broad range of demographic categories is crucial to the success of the qualitative study. Not every nationwide recruitment agency is experienced in recruiting healthcare professionals or hard-to-reach participants, and it is imperative to scrutinize the recruitment agency to ensure it has successfully recruited these hard-to-reach categories for past studies, and be able to explain their methodologies for recruitment.
While social media platforms have made recruitment outreach easier, there still remain significant barriers to reaching populations that are critical for certain qualitative medical studies. As more medical studies aim to address disparities of care, or efficacy of drugs within populations, it is important to have meaningful sample sizes of targeted populations.
There are myriad reasons why participants for medical studies remain hard-to-reach: structural racism in healthcare, cultural barriers, immigrant populations unfamiliar with standards and practices of healthcare systems; mistrust; and language are but a few examples. Nationwide recruitment services for specialized studies require teams of recruiters that are aware of the barriers and understand that traditional recruiting channels may not apply when it comes to recruiting for qualitative medical studies.
An additional challenge for recruiters when tasked with finding participants for qualitative medical studies, is that no two study is alike. The recruiting methodologies that worked for one study may not apply to another. Before hiring a market research recruiting firm to manage your medical study recruitment, ask about the breadth of experience in recruiting for past studies that may be similar to yours. When qualitative research consultants design studies for medical research, they often allow for longer timelines, knowing that recruiting for such studies can often take additional time and resources.
Focus Insite is experienced in recruiting for all sorts of qualitative medical studies, including those with hard-to-reach populations. We employ a number of different methodologies for recruitment such as chain-referral sampling, social media outreach, developing relationships with various medical organizations, cold-calling, and community outreach. These are but a few of the ways we connect with hard-to-reach populations. Our experience informs us that providing an incentive for study participation yields better participation rates and study outcomes.
A recruiter’s work doesn’t end when a study participant is accepted into a study. Similar to any qualitative market research study, managing participants remains a full-time endeavor until the conclusion of the study. Managing schedules, no-shows, and payment are but a few reasons why nationwide qualitative market research firms hire professional recruiting companies.