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Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Aug 29, 2017
Open Peer Review Period: Aug 30, 2017 - Oct 25, 2017

NOTE: This is an unreviewed Preprint

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Using Reddit to recruit hard-to-reach study populations

  • Alison H Norris

ABSTRACT

Background:

Social media websites (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) have been used to recruit hard-to-reach populations for research. One hard-to-reach population is women who are refused reproductive health care due to a provider’s moral or ethical beliefs.

Objective:

To test methods for recruiting a hard-to-reach population into qualitative research via Reddit, a social news aggregation and discussion site.

Methods:

We employed two recruitment methods: 1) recruitment posts on applicable subreddits (pages dedicated to specific topics) and 2) private messaging Reddit users who had previously posted about being denied this care.

Results:

For the first approach, we posted recruitment messages 13 times on 6 subreddits at various times during a five-month interval. This method yielded no interviews. For the second approach, we used key words in Reddit’s search function, which revealed posts from 13 potentially-eligible women. After messaging the women, three completed the interview.

Conclusions:

Social media websites (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) have been used to recruit hard-to-reach populations for research. One hard-to-reach population is women who are refused reproductive health care due to a provider’s moral or ethical beliefs.