• clinical trials;
  • retention;
  • community-based

Purpose: To identify and discuss retention strategies and their effectiveness in communitybased clinical trials in the last decade.

Methods: Online and hand searches for reports for the period 1990–1999. A total of 87 reports on 64 different trials were found; 21 of these published reports included a description of both retention strategies and outcomes. These studies, rank-ordered on participant retention, were compared.

Findings: Despite differences in study populations, interventions, and endpoints, community-based trials with the highest retention rates included a combination of retention strategies.

Conclusions: As more funding agencies emphasize clinical trials, more investigators will be held accountable for credible and generalizable findings based on retaining the projected number of study participants. The small number of published reports for the decade that identified both retention strategies and outcomes substantiates the need to better document these factors in future research reports.