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Currently accepted at: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Jul 5, 2018
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 8, 2018 - Aug 8, 2018
Date Accepted: Sep 22, 2018
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/11492

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

The final, peer-reviewed published version of this preprint can be found here:

Evaluating Different Recruitment Methods in a Longitudinal Survey: Findings From the Pan-European PASTA Project

Gaupp-Berghausen M, Raser E, Anaya-Boig E, Avila-Palencia I, de Nazelle A, Dons E, Franzen H, Gerike R, Götschi T, Iacorossi F, Hössinger R, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Rojas-Rueda D, Sanchez J, Smeds E, Deforth M, Standaert A, Stigell E, Cole-Hunter T, Int Panis L

Evaluating Different Recruitment Methods in a Longitudinal Survey: Findings From the Pan-European PASTA Project

J Med Internet Res 2019;21(5):e11492

DOI: 10.2196/11492

PMID: 31066715

PMCID: 6533046

Evaluating Different Recruitment Methods in a Longitudinal Survey: Findings From the Pan-European PASTA Project

  • Mailin Gaupp-Berghausen; 
  • Elisabeth Raser; 
  • Esther Anaya-Boig; 
  • Ione Avila-Palencia; 
  • Audrey de Nazelle; 
  • Evi Dons; 
  • Helen Franzen; 
  • Regine Gerike; 
  • Thomas Götschi; 
  • Francesco Iacorossi; 
  • Reinhard Hössinger; 
  • Mark Nieuwenhuijsen; 
  • David Rojas-Rueda; 
  • Julian Sanchez; 
  • Emilia Smeds; 
  • Manja Deforth; 
  • Arnout Standaert; 
  • Erik Stigell; 
  • Tom Cole-Hunter; 
  • Luc Int Panis

ABSTRACT

Background:

Sufficient sample size and minimal sample bias are core requirements in empirical data analyses. Combining opportunistic recruitment with an online survey and data collection platform yields new benefits compared to traditional recruitment approaches.

Objective:

The objective of this paper is to report on the success of different recruitment methods to obtain participants’ characteristics, participation behavior, recruitment rates, and representativeness of the sample.

Methods:

A longitudinal online survey was implemented as part of the European PASTA project, which was online between November 2014 and December 2016. During this period participants in seven European cities were recruited on a rolling basis. For all cities to reach a sufficient number of adult participants a standardized guide on recruitment strategy was developed. In order to make use of the strengths and to minimize weakness a combination of different opportunistic recruitment methods was applied. In addition, the city of Oerebro applied random sampling approach. In order to reduce attrition rate and improve real-time monitoring the online platform featured a participant and a researchers` user interface and dashboard.

Results:

A total of 10,691 participants were recruited. Most people found out about the survey through their workplace or employer (21.5 %), outreach promotion (20.8 %), and social media (17.4 %). The average number of questionnaires filled-in per participant varied between the cities, with the highest number in Zurich (11.0 ± 0.33) and the lowest in Oerebro (4.8 ± 0.17). Collaboration with local organizations, the use of Facebook and mailing lists, and direct street recruitment were the most effective approaches in reaching a high share of participants (p = <.001). Under consideration of invested working hours Facebook (p = <.001) was one of the most time-efficient methods. Compared to the cities census data, the composition of study participants was broadly representative in terms of gender distribution, however included younger and better educated participants.

Conclusions:

We observed that offering a mixed recruitment approach was very effective in achieving a high participation rate. The highest attrition rate and the lowest average number of questionnaires filled-in per participant were observed in Oerebro, who also recruited participants through random sampling. The findings suggest that people that are more interested in the topic are more willing to participate and to stay in a survey than those who are selected randomly and may not have a strong connection to the research topic. Whereas direct face-to-face contacts were very effective with respect to the number of recruited participants; recruiting people through social media was not only effective, but also very time-efficient. The collected data is based on one of the largest recruited longitudinal samples with a common recruitment strategy in different European cities.


 Citation

Please cite as:

Gaupp-Berghausen M, Raser E, Anaya-Boig E, Avila-Palencia I, de Nazelle A, Dons E, Franzen H, Gerike R, Götschi T, Iacorossi F, Hössinger R, Nieuwenhuijsen M, Rojas-Rueda D, Sanchez J, Smeds E, Deforth M, Standaert A, Stigell E, Cole-Hunter T, Int Panis L

Evaluating Different Recruitment Methods in a Longitudinal Survey: Findings From the Pan-European PASTA Project

Journal of Medical Internet Research. (forthcoming/in press)

DOI: 10.2196/11492

URL: https://preprints.jmir.org/preprint/11492

PMID: 31066715

PMCID: 6533046

Per the author's request the PDF is not available.

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.