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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 22 8. Gatekeepers can be useful in recruiting, but the recruiting mechanism should be designed and monitored by the researcher. The gatekeeper we enlisted to help us reach the homosexual population was essential and productive. However, circumstances limited training time with the on-site hired recruiters, and these individuals were members of the target community rather than researchers. Therefore, our recruiting mechanism for this strategy was designed to minimize the research protocol-related responsibility of the paid recruiters and the gatekeeper, and to have researchers conduct all the key processes for determining eligibility and inviting respondents. 9. Intercept strategies bring mixed results. The success of the intercept strategy depended heavily on the context of the situation. For example, both classroom and nightclub intercepts were successful for reaching the targeted population. However, our experience with an intercept strategy in an outdoor public location, without having a member of the targeted community as a recruiter, was not successful. 10. Incentive levels have a strong influence on recruiting success. It was clear from respondent reactions that doubling the incentive to $50 in Wave 3 helped reduce the number of hours spent recruiting. The relationship between the strength of the incentive and labor-cost for recruiting should be carefully considered when building a budget, since there may be a point at which a slightly higher incentive will greatly enhance recruiting success. 11. Followup with respondents is important. Reaching eligible respondents is only half the battle, being sure they show up for the group is the other half! Reminding respondents of their commitment by phone the day before and giving them printed materials about the discussion date were a good investment of recruiter efforts. Focus groups can be a powerful tool for developing a health communication campaign when rigorous sampling and recruiting plans reflect the major research goals and the desired characteristics of the target audience. Establishing procedures that assure that important criteria are consistently met, and that limitation issues are addressed is essential to gathering valuable data from the focus groups. The experiences of the Targeting Mass Media Campaigns for HIV Prevention Project demonstrate how the principles for rigorous sampling and recruiting of focus groups can be applied in a health communication campaign.

Authors: Allard, Suzie., Palmgreen, Philip. and Zimmerman, Rick.
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Recruiting for Focus Groups in Health Communication Campaigns
page 22
8. Gatekeepers can be useful in recruiting, but the recruiting mechanism should be designed
and monitored by the researcher. The gatekeeper we enlisted to help us reach the homosexual population
was essential and productive. However, circumstances limited training time with the on-site hired recruiters,
and these individuals were members of the target community rather than researchers. Therefore, our
recruiting mechanism for this strategy was designed to minimize the research protocol-related responsibility of
the paid recruiters and the gatekeeper, and to have researchers conduct all the key processes for determining
eligibility and inviting respondents.
9. Intercept strategies bring mixed results. The success of the intercept strategy depended
heavily on the context of the situation. For example, both classroom and nightclub intercepts were successful
for reaching the targeted population. However, our experience with an intercept strategy in an outdoor public
location, without having a member of the targeted community as a recruiter, was not successful.
10. Incentive levels have a strong influence on recruiting success. It was clear from respondent
reactions that doubling the incentive to $50 in Wave 3 helped reduce the number of hours spent recruiting.
The relationship between the strength of the incentive and labor-cost for recruiting should be carefully
considered when building a budget, since there may be a point at which a slightly higher incentive will greatly
enhance recruiting success.
11. Followup with respondents is important. Reaching eligible respondents is only half the battle,
being sure they show up for the group is the other half! Reminding respondents of their commitment by
phone the day before and giving them printed materials about the discussion date were a good investment of
recruiter efforts.
Focus groups can be a powerful tool for developing a health communication campaign when rigorous
sampling and recruiting plans reflect the major research goals and the desired characteristics of the target
audience. Establishing procedures that assure that important criteria are consistently met, and that limitation
issues are addressed is essential to gathering valuable data from the focus groups. The experiences of the
Targeting Mass Media Campaigns for HIV Prevention Project demonstrate how the principles for rigorous
sampling and recruiting of focus groups can be applied in a health communication campaign.


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