Study Issues

The Wednesday AccrualNet Post (8-1-12): Encouraging Data from Study Testing Use of Social Media for Recruitment

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2012

Originally posted by: Ellen Richmond, AccrualNet Co-Moderator, on the former AccrualNet site on August 3, 2012.


After so much speculation about the potential of web-based recruitment approaches, it is good to see that studies that have evaluated internet and social media strategies for clinical trial accrual are emerging in the literature. Check out an interesting article by Fenner et al in a recent issue of Journal of Medical Internet Research * (soon to be included among the AccrualNet resource pages). The Australian researchers assessed the feasibility of using targeted advertising on Facebook to recruit young females (16-25 years old) from Victoria, Australia to participate in a health study by placing an ad from May to September 2010. If a woman clicked on the ad, she was redirected to the study website and could get more information about the study by providing her contact information online. A researcher would then contact her, screen her for eligibility and ask her to complete a health survey (with privacy protection) either in person or online. The authors reported that 551 young women responded, of whom 426 agreed to participate, and of those, 278 completed the survey (139 at the study site and 139 remotely). Older age, more education, and higher body mass index were factors associated with participation. With the average cost for advertising per compliant participant was US $20, this approach was considered to be highly cost effective. These results support the potential of using social media technologies to recruit young women in health research in urban and non-urban communities. The article provides detailed cost-effectiveness and logistical information. If you are using social media and web-based recruitment tactics, consider publishing your results or sharing your experience on AccrualNet Conversations


*J Med Internet Res 2012;14(1):e20)

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