Successful Research Recruitment Strategies in a Study Focused on Abused Rural Women at Risk for Sexually Transmitted Infections


  • Melissa A. Sutherland PhD, FNP-BC,

  • Heidi Collins Fantasia PhD, RN, WHNP-BC

Melissa A. Sutherland PhD, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor, Boston College, William F. Connell School of Nursing, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. E-mail:


Introduction: The purpose of this article is to describe the successful recruitment methods of a study focused on a pilot intervention for rural women who were experiencing abuse and who also were at risk for sexually transmitted infections. Initial recruitment into the study was the primary challenge, and strategies to overcome recruitment difficulties are discussed.

Methods: Eighty-seven women were screened, and 20 women were recruited from clinics into a 1-group pretest/posttest pilot study. The main inclusion criterion for the intervention was a past-year history of intimate partner violence (IPV).

Results: After 1 month of recruitment, only 10 women agreed to be screened for IPV. Several creative strategies were utilized in the revision of the recruitment plan, with the most successful being knitting by the research staff and incentives to participants for screening. An additional 77 women agreed to be screened for study participation within 3 months of implementing the recruitment changes.

Discussion: Personal involvement by the research staff and a nonthreatening and welcoming environment were necessary components for timely recruitment. Researcher flexibility and reevaluation allowed for changes to the recruitment plan that ultimately proved successful.