Efficient and effective recruitment and retention of participants is the largest single component of the study workload and forms an essential component in the conduct of clinical trials. In this paper, we present five principles to guide the processes of both recruitment and retention. These principles include the selection of an appropriate population to adequately answer the research question, followed by the establishment of a sampling process that accurately represents that population. Creation of systematic and effective recruitment mechanisms should be supported by implementation of follow-up mechanisms that promote participant retention. Finally, all activities related to recruitment and retention must be conducted within the framework of ethics and privacy regulations. Adherence to these principles will assist the researcher in achieving the goals of the study within the available resources.