Journal Article

Research recruitment: A marketing framework to improve sample representativeness in health research


Aims. This discussion paper proposes a five-part theoretical framework to inform recruitment strategies. The framework is based on a marketing model of consumer decision-making. Background. Respondents in surveys are typically healthier than non-respondents, which has an impact on the availability of information about those most in need. Previous research has identified response patterns, provided theories about why people participate in research and evaluated different recruitment strategies. Social marketing has been applied successfully to recruitment and promotes focus on the needs of the participant, but little attention has been paid to the periods before and after participant-researcher contact (during advertising and following completion of studies). We propose a new model which conceptualises participation as a decision involving motivation, perception of information, attitude formation, integration of intention and action and finally evaluation and sharing of experience. Design. Discussion paper. Data sources. This discussion paper presents a critical review. No literature was excluded on date and the included citations span the years 1981 - 2017. Implications for nursing. The proposed framework suggests that researchers could engage a broader demographic if they shape research design and advertising to perform functions that participants are seeking to achieve. The framework provides a novel and useful conceptualisation of recruitment which could help to inform public engagement in research design, researcher training and research policy. Conclusion. This framework challenges researchers to investigate the goals of the potential participants when designing a study's advertising and procedures.

Attached files


Howcutt, Sarah J.
Barnett, Anna L.
Barbosa-Boucas, Sofia
Smith, Lesley A.

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-11-22

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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