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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 19 respondent is compensated for his/her time and trouble. Additionally, if the researcher is recruiting within a particular sampling frame for a series of studies, an incentive can create positive feelings towards the research within the community. A meal or snacks during the discussion is another incentive that is frequently included as a benefit. The Mass Media Project offered $25 and food for the first two waves of focus groups, and then offered $50 (to speed recruiting) and food for the final wave of focus groups. 4. Screener participation. The final part of the introduction should ask the potential respondent if s/he is interested in continuing with the recruiting process. This allows the individual to decide if they want to answer the screening questions or if they want to terminate the process. 5. Screener questions. The script should include exact wording of the questions that the researchers have written to determine eligibility based on the previously identified criteria. The script should be written so that the person doing the recruiting should be able to easily understand if a person has qualified or not. It should also anticipate all the answers that a respondent could offer so that the recruiter has explicit instructions about how to react to any answer. This assures that recruiting will be handled consistently by all recruiters. Wording for terminating a person who does not qualify. It is essential that the script provide recruiters with an ethical and polite way to discontinue the recruiting process at each stage that someone may be identified as being ineligible. The Project used the following statement at any point that the respondent became ineligible, “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. However, we do not need to schedule you for discussion at this time. We appreciate your help.” Wording for inviting a qualified person. The invitation statement should briefly restate the research purpose and then clearly tell the respondent about the location and timing of the focus group for which they qualify. The invitation should also include gathering any pertinent information about the respondent in terms of contact information for reminders, or for sending materials such as maps. This contact information may be an email address, an additional phone number or a mailing address. Krueger (1988:16) notes that among people who qualify for groups it is rare to have more than 20-40% who are willing to participate. Further analysis of the Mass Media Project experience would be required for a comparison with this statistic. An overview of recruiting results suggest s that the greater problem faced by the Project was finding eligible individuals, but once found, most chose to participate. Followup Procedures. Generally, recruiting is done well in advance of the scheduled focus group, so it is important to re-contact individuals closer to the date to remind them of the discussion (Krueger, 1988:196). Over the course of the three waves of focus groups, the Mass Media Project developed a two point - followup process to encourage attendance at the sessions. The first followup procedure was instituted at the time the individual was determined to be eligible and was invited to attend one of the groups. At this point, the invitee was sent a map with directions to the discussion venue that included the date and time of

Authors: Allard, Suzie., Palmgreen, Philip. and Zimmerman, Rick.
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Recruiting for Focus Groups in Health Communication Campaigns
page 19
respondent is compensated for his/her time and trouble. Additionally, if the researcher is recruiting within a
particular sampling frame for a series of studies, an incentive can create positive feelings towards the
research within the community. A meal or snacks during the discussion is another incentive that is frequently
included as a benefit. The Mass Media Project offered $25 and food for the first two waves of focus groups,
and then offered $50 (to speed recruiting) and food for the final wave of focus groups.
4. Screener participation. The final part of the introduction should ask the potential respondent if
s/he is interested in continuing with the recruiting process. This allows the individual to decide if they want to
answer the screening questions or if they want to terminate the process.
5. Screener questions. The script should include exact wording of the questions that the
researchers have written to determine eligibility based on the previously identified criteria. The script should
be written so that the person doing the recruiting should be able to easily understand if a person has qualified
or not. It should also anticipate all the answers that a respondent could offer so that the recruiter has explicit
instructions about how to react to any answer. This assures that recruiting will be handled consistently by all
recruiters.
Wording for terminating a person who does not qualify. It is essential that the script provide recruiters
with an ethical and polite way to discontinue the recruiting process at each stage that someone may be
identified as being ineligible. The Project used the following statement at any point that the respondent
became ineligible, “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. However, we do not need to schedule you
for discussion at this time. We appreciate your help.”
Wording for inviting a qualified person. The invitation statement should briefly restate the research
purpose and then clearly tell the respondent about the location and timing of the focus group for which they
qualify. The invitation should also include gathering any pertinent information about the respondent in terms
of contact information for reminders, or for sending materials such as maps. This contact information may be
an email address, an additional phone number or a mailing address. Krueger (1988:16) notes that among
people who qualify for groups it is rare to have more than 20-40% who are willing to participate. Further
analysis of the Mass Media Project experience would be required for a comparison with this statistic. An
overview of recruiting results suggest s that the greater problem faced by the Project was finding eligible
individuals, but once found, most chose to participate.
Followup Procedures. Generally, recruiting is done well in advance of the scheduled focus group,
so it is important to re-contact individuals closer to the date to remind them of the discussion (Krueger,
1988:196). Over the course of the three waves of focus groups, the Mass Media Project developed a two
point - followup process to encourage attendance at the sessions. The first followup procedure was instituted
at the time the individual was determined to be eligible and was invited to attend one of the groups. At this
point, the invitee was sent a map with directions to the discussion venue that included the date and time of


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