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Focus Group Recruiting in Health Communication Campaigns: Lessons from a Project on Risky Sexual Behavior
Unformatted Document Text:  Recruiting for Focus Groups in Health Communication Campaigns page 16 information about the incentive, the nature of the research and contact information for the project which can include “tear-offs” with a brief identification (i.e. “discussion group”) and the contact phone number. This provides individuals with something to take away with them and assures that the number will be correct and will not be copied down incorrectly. The Mass Media Project used this strategy to recruit both students and community members. On campus, flyers were placed on bulletin boards throughout campus including the Student Center and many different colleges. However, it was hoped that the strategy would be especially helpful in reaching community members. This was tested in Wave One, where 52 locations were targeted as good venues for posting a flyer. These locations included places which the target population was known to frequent such as music stores, sport venues (bowling, rock climbing, laser tag, YMCA), convenience stores and hair salons, as well as places they might work such as grocery stores and large discount merchandisers. While it was clear that flyers were bringing individuals to the study, we were interested in determining where posters had received the most attention. At the close of Wave One, follow-up calls were made to the 52 flyer venues, and a brief interview was conducted with people at 46 of the sites. Of these people, about two-thirds were unable to supply information about how many tear-offs had been taken for various reasons mostly because the flyer was gone. The remaining third of the locations were able to supply information about the number of tear-offs that had been taken from the 15 that had been available. Although some locations reported that no tear-offs had been taken, as many as 10 had been taken at other locations, and the median number of tear-offs taken was 3. Generally speaking, music shops, convenience stores, hair salons and sport venues seemed to have the most response. Based on these results, off-campus flier posting for Wave 2 were scaled back to 14 prime locations and to 6 sites for Wave 3. Another strategy employed was handing out flyers at events that are frequented by the target population. This was tried in two locations in Wave 1 (a theater, and a park during a heavily attended event). However, results were not encouraging considering the labor-intensive nature of the activity. If this approach is taken is should be noted that it may be necessary to secure permission from the venue in order to hand them out. A third flyer-related strategy was used in Wave Three to reach the target audience in nightclubs. Study-related information was printed on something similar to business cards that were placed in nightclubs known to appeal to the target audience. This strategy required gaining the support of the nightclub owners and managers so that the cards could be made available. To do this, the Project researchers contacted the owners/managers with letters that explained the goal of the research and asked for their help in continuing the important work. Approached in this manner, owners and managers were very supportive and allowed the information cards into their establishments in various locations including on the bar counter, on side tables, near the cash registers, and also by the cigarette machines and video games. It is difficult to ascertain how successful these cards were in reaching the target audience and encouraging them to call, however, many cards were “consumed” at each location.

Authors: Allard, Suzie., Palmgreen, Philip. and Zimmerman, Rick.
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Recruiting for Focus Groups in Health Communication Campaigns
page 16
information about the incentive, the nature of the research and contact information for the project which can
include “tear-offs” with a brief identification (i.e. “discussion group”) and the contact phone number. This
provides individuals with something to take away with them and assures that the number will be correct and
will not be copied down incorrectly.
The Mass Media Project used this strategy to recruit both students and community members. On
campus, flyers were placed on bulletin boards throughout campus including the Student Center and many
different colleges. However, it was hoped that the strategy would be especially helpful in reaching community
members. This was tested in Wave One, where 52 locations were targeted as good venues for posting a
flyer. These locations included places which the target population was known to frequent such as music
stores, sport venues (bowling, rock climbing, laser tag, YMCA), convenience stores and hair salons, as well
as places they might work such as grocery stores and large discount merchandisers.
While it was clear that flyers were bringing individuals to the study, we were interested in determining
where posters had received the most attention. At the close of Wave One, follow-up calls were made to the
52 flyer venues, and a brief interview was conducted with people at 46 of the sites. Of these people, about
two-thirds were unable to supply information about how many tear-offs had been taken for various reasons
mostly because the flyer was gone. The remaining third of the locations were able to supply information
about the number of tear-offs that had been taken from the 15 that had been available. Although some
locations reported that no tear-offs had been taken, as many as 10 had been taken at other locations, and the
median number of tear-offs taken was 3. Generally speaking, music shops, convenience stores, hair salons
and sport venues seemed to have the most response. Based on these results, off-campus flier posting for
Wave 2 were scaled back to 14 prime locations and to 6 sites for Wave 3.
Another strategy employed was handing out flyers at events that are frequented by the target
population. This was tried in two locations in Wave 1 (a theater, and a park during a heavily attended event).
However, results were not encouraging considering the labor-intensive nature of the activity. If this approach
is taken is should be noted that it may be necessary to secure permission from the venue in order to hand
them out.
A third flyer-related strategy was used in Wave Three to reach the target audience in nightclubs.
Study-related information was printed on something similar to business cards that were placed in nightclubs
known to appeal to the target audience. This strategy required gaining the support of the nightclub owners
and managers so that the cards could be made available. To do this, the Project researchers contacted the
owners/managers with letters that explained the goal of the research and asked for their help in continuing the
important work. Approached in this manner, owners and managers were very supportive and allowed the
information cards into their establishments in various locations including on the bar counter, on side tables,
near the cash registers, and also by the cigarette machines and video games. It is difficult to ascertain how
successful these cards were in reaching the target audience and encouraging them to call, however, many
cards were “consumed” at each location.


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