Web-based recruiting for health research using a social networking site: an exploratory study.

Posted: Nov 01, 2012
J Med Internet Res. 14. 1. e20.
KEYWORDS: Logistics/Transportation, International, Women, Adolescent/Young Adult, Web, Social Media, Non-Cancer


Facebook targeted advertising system shows great promise for recruiting young women for health research.

Why this item may be useful

The study assessed  (1) feasibility of obtaining a representative sample of young females using a Facebook-targeted advertising system and (2) young females’ knowledge of and attitudes toward health issues and participation in health and medical research. The Facebook strategy was shown to be cost-effective (average cost of $20 US per participant) in comparison with many traditional recruitment methods. The authors provide a detailed explanation of their methods and share the advertisements that they used. They also point out that with the expansion of social networking  in diverse populations, this approach is likely to become appropriate for minority groups and older adults.


  • The study was conducted in Australia from May to September 2010.
  • Factors associated with participation included older age (22-25 years), higher body mass index, and more education.
  • The major determinant of willingness to complete the study survey at the study site, as opposed to completing it online from a remote location, was proximity to the study site.