Engaging workplace representatives in research: what recruitment strategies work best?

Coole, Carol, Nouri, F., Narayanasamy, M., Baker, Paul, Khan, S. and Drummond, Avril E.R. (2018) Engaging workplace representatives in research: what recruitment strategies work best? Occupational Medicine, 68 (4). pp. 282-285. ISSN 1471-8405

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Workplaces are key stakeholders in work and health but little is known about the methods used to recruit workplace representatives (WRs), including managers, occupational health advisers and colleagues, to externally funded healthcare research studies.


To detail the strategies used in recruiting WRs from three areas of the UK to a qualitative study concerning their experience of employees undergoing hip or knee replacement, to compare the strategies and inform recruitment methods for future studies.


Six strategies were used to recruit WRs from organizations of different sizes and sectors. Data on numbers approached and responses received were analysed descriptively.


Twenty-five WRs were recruited. Recruitment had to be extended outside the main three study areas, and took several months. It proved more difficult to recruit from non-service sectors and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The most successful strategies were approaching organizations that had participated in previous research studies, or known professionally or personally to team members.


Recruiting a diverse sample of WRs to healthcare research requires considerable resources and persistence, and a range of strategies. Recruitment is easier where local relationships already exist; the importance of building and maintaining these relationships cannot be underestimated. However, the potential risks of bias and participant fatigue need to be acknowledged and managed. Further studies are needed to explore how WRs can be recruited to health research, and to identify the researcher effort and costs involved in achieving unbiased and representative samples.

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/933783
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in [insert journal title] following peer review. The version of record C Coole, F Nouri, M Narayanasamy, P Baker, S Khan, A Drummond; Engaging workplace representatives in research: what recruitment strategies work best?, Occupational Medicine, kqy047 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/occmed/advance-article/doi/10.1093/occmed/kqy047/4945432.
Keywords: Employers, recruitment, research methods, work, workplaces
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqy047
Depositing User: Roe, Jonathan
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2018 14:14
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:37
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/50754

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