• Arab;
  • immigrants;
  • sample recruitment

Purpose: To describe successful and not-so-successful strategies for recruiting and retaining Arab Muslim immigrant women and their adolescent children for research.

Design and Methods: A longitudinal study of mother-child adjustment of Arab immigrants to the US is used for illustration. A panel of experts was assembled and provided culturally specific advice about gatekeepers, advertising, data collectors, data collection, and how to track and encourage participation at subsequent time points in the study.

Findings: Most of the strategies recommended by the panel were overwhelmingly positive, including advice about data collectors, how to collect data, financial incentives, avoiding offending families, and personal contacts. Hiring data collectors who were able to establish personal and culturally appropriate relationships with study participants was the single most successful recruitment and retention strategy. Advice from cultural experts about which gatekeepers to engage and how to advertise for study participants was not productive.

Conclusions: Researchers should not only assemble a panel of cultural experts to provide advice about group specific strategies to build trust and maintain cultural sensitivity, but also to budget generously for time for data collectors to build and maintain rapport with study populations who, like Arab immigrant women, highly value personal relationships.