Enacting a theory of caring to recruit and retain vulnerable participants for sensitive research

Authors

  • Karen Kavanaugh,

    Corresponding author
    1. Advanced Practice Palliative Care Nurse Training Grant, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois
    2. Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois
    • Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, 845 South Damen, Room 848, Chicago, IL 60612-7350.
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    • Associate Professor and Co-Project Director.

  • Teresa T. Moro,

    1. School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, Illinois
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    • Doctoral Student.

  • Teresa Savage,

    1. Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois
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    • Research Assistant Professor.

  • Ramkrishna Mehendale

    1. University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
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    • Research Associate.


Abstract

The recruitment and retention of research participants always presents challenges to researchers. This process is made more complicated when the research being undertaken is socially sensitive and the populations of interest are considered vulnerable. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how Swanson's middle-range theory of caring can be used as a framework for recruitment and retention for studies on sensitive topics that involve vulnerable participants. We provide an overview of the theory as well as illustrations from three separate studies that involved in-depth interviews with vulnerable participants. These studies included parents who had either experienced the death of their infant or were involved in life support decisions because of potentially giving birth to an extremely premature infant (22–25 weeks gestation). © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 29:244–252, 2006

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