• Presentation

Do Different Recruitment Methods Reach Different People?


Weger, S., & Hottinger, C. S. (2011, May). Do Different Recruitment Methods Reach Different People?. Presented at AAPOR 2011, Phoenix, AZ.


Since the early 1990s much attention has been focused towards correcting the historical under-representation of minorities in genetic and health research studies. However, traditional population-based recruitment strategies often fall short of adequate sample yield and there is limited literature to guide researchers in the most cost effective minority recruitment methods. Case/Control research studies targeting specific minority populations are presented with the further challenge of recruiting participants who are representative of the community while also controlling for the introduction of potential biases that may result from nontraditional recruitment methods such as treatment seeking, referrals, other community-based recruitment and advertisement.

The Genetic Study of Nicotine Dependence in African Americans (AAND) is an ongoing project with such a design. Data collection efforts for this study are restricted to include only African Americans between the ages of 25-44 in the greater Chicago, IL area, who have smoked a minimum of 40 cigarettes during their lifetime, and who meet eligibility criteria to be enrolled as either a case or a control based on Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence scores. AAND was designed to utilize a targeted sampling frame of 100,000 listed telephone numbers from Chicago census blocks known to be 80% or greater African American with an oversampling of households aged 25-44 for enrollment of 1000 cases and 1000 controls.

Research suggests the primary driver of difficulty recruiting minorities is establishing contact with prospective participants. Throughout data collection AAND has faced obstacles in efficiently reaching African American respondents for recruitment via listed telephone sampling methods. In an effort to increase the recruitment efficiency rate for AAND, several supplemental strategies have been implemented with varying degrees of success. This paper will discuss the challenges encountered in reaching eligible minority household members, outline the various supplemental recruitment methods introduced, and highlight lessons learned from this complex study.