Personal contact versus a website: what do potential participants prefer?
Using a website to assist in recruitment can be cost-effective and efficient, but researchers questioned whether potential participants would utilize a website to register for more information on a weight management study. In addition, researchers wondered if retention, demographics, and outcomes would differ between participants who used an Internet-based information and registration system versus those who used a telephone-based system in which potential participants had the opportunity to speak to study staff. This study found that 70 percent of enrollees chose the website option. Additionally, enrolled participants who used the website to register for an initial study information session had similar study retention and outcome performance as did enrollees who used the telephone method. Researchers determined that for larger clinical trials, a website may help achieve recruitment, eligibility, and randomization goals more cost-effectively and efficiently.
Have you used a website to recruit participants? What have been your experiences using the Internet to aid in recruitment? Have your findings been similar to those reported in this study, or have you found that potential participants prefer their initial contact to be with study staff?