Facebook: an effective tool for participant retention in longitudinal research.
ABSTRACT Facebook is currently one of the world's most visited websites, and home to millions of users who access their accounts on a regular basis. Owing to the website's ease of accessibility and free service, demographic characteristics of users span all domains. As such, Facebook may be a valuable tool for locating and communicating with participants in longitudinal research studies. This article outlines the benefit gained in a longitudinal follow-up study, of an intervention programme for at-risk families, through the use of Facebook as a search engine.
Using Facebook as a resource, we were able to locate 19 participants that were otherwise 'lost' to follow-up, decreasing attrition in our study by 16%. Additionally, analysis indicated that hard-to-reach participants located with Facebook differed significantly on measures of receptive language and self-esteem when compared to their easier-to-locate counterparts.
These results suggest that Facebook is an effective means of improving participant retention in a longitudinal intervention study and may help improve study validity by reaching participants that contribute differing results.
- SourceAvailable from: Debra Allnock[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Birth cohort studies, where parents consent for their child to be enrolled in a longitudinal study prior to or soon after birth, are a powerful study design in epidemiology and developmental research. Participation often continues into adulthood. Where participants are enrolled as infants, provision should be made for consent, consultation and involvement in study design as they age. This study aims to audit and describe the extent and types of consultation and engagement currently used in birth cohorts in Europe. METHODS: Seventy study groups (representing 84 cohorts) were contacted to ask about their practice in engaging and involving study members. Information was gathered from study websites and publications, 15 cohorts provided additional information via email and 17 cohorts were interviewed over the phone. RESULTS: The cohorts identified confirm the growth of this study design, with more than half beginning since 1990, and 4 since 2011. Most studies maintain a website open to the general public, although many are written for the scientific community only. Five studies have web pages specifically for young cohort members and one study provides a dedicated page for fathers. Cohorts send newsletters, cards, and summaries of findings to participants to stay in touch. Six cohorts use Facebook for this purpose. Five cohorts provide feedback opportunities for participants after completing a round of data collection. We know of just 8 cohorts who have a mechanism for consulting with parents and 3 a mechanism for consulting with young people themselves, although these were 'one off' consultations for some groups. Barriers to further consultation with cohort members were: concerns about impact on quality of research, ethical constraints, resource limitations, lack of importance, and previous adverse experiences. CONCLUSIONS: Although the children in some of the cohorts are still young (born in the last 10 years) many are old enough to include some element of consultation. Barriers to greater participation identified here have been overcome in some cohorts and in other fields. Within the scope of their funding and resources, birth cohort studies should consider ways in which they could increase engagement, consultation, and co-production with research participants.Graphical Abstract:BMC Medical Research Methodology 04/2013; 13(1):56. · 2.21 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Ethnic minorities are underrepresented in mental health research, especially in randomized controlled trials. Recruiting ethnic minorities is challenging and there is a need to develop effective recruitment strategies. This study used data from a randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of an online guided self-help intervention for Turkish migrants with depressive symptoms. The recruitment process comprised six strategies in Dutch and Turkish: 1) a press release; 2) digital mailing; 3) the distribution of research information leaflets; 4) advertisements; 5) the Internet (in general terms); and 6) Facebook (FB). We describe the content and approach of each of the strategies and how effective they were in recruiting participants for our study. FB is evaluated in a step-by-step description of the recruitment strategy, together with its results in terms of effectiveness, specifically regarding data of FB Friends and messages received by FB Friends through FB. Results showed that a total of 287 applied for the trial. The majority of applicants were recruited through FB (75.6%, n = 224), of whom 74 (33%, n = 224) were included in the trial. Traditional recruitment strategies were far less successful, yielding only 16.4% (n = 47) of the total of 287 applicants, of whom only 3 (3.1%) were included in the trial. Traditional recruitment strategies, such as research information leaflets and advertisements in newspapers, appear ineffective in recruiting ethnic minority groups for research purposes. The use of FB proved to be a more successful method. Future research should examine the factors that account for the potential effectiveness of FB as a recruitment method for hard-to-reach populations.Internet Interventions. 01/2014;
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery 05/2013; 131(5):865e-8e. · 2.74 Impact Factor