Participant recruitment from minority religious groups: the case of the Islamic population in South Australia

N Mohammadi, T Jones, D Evans
International Nursing Review 2008, 55 (4): 393-8

BACKGROUND: Participant recruitment is a fundamental component of the research process and the methods employed to attract individuals will depend on the nature of the study. Recruitment may be more challenging when the study involves people from a minority religious group. However, this issue has not been well addressed in the literature.

AIM: To discuss the challenges of recruiting participants from a minority religious group (the Islamic population) to participate in an interpretive, hermeneutic study concerning the experience of hospitalization. The challenges of recruitment encountered during this study are used as the basis for a broader discussion of this important issue. To ensure the success of this phase of the study, a pre-planned recruitment strategy was essential.

METHODS: Multiple recruitment strategies were used, including hospital-based recruitment, snowball sampling, advertising and contact with key people. Despite the use of multiple strategies, recruitment of participants was difficult and required an extended period of time to achieve sufficiently rich data. Thirteen participants shared their lived experience to provide an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon. Recruiting participants from minority religious group involves potentially sensitive issues. There is an increased need for the researchers to carefully consider potential participants' rights and ensure that sound ethical principles underpin the study, as failure to do this may hinder the recruitment process.

FINDINGS: The two most effective strategies of recruitment were snowball sampling and contact with key Islamic people, with the least effective being advertising. This paper highlights the importance of anticipating potential difficulties and pre-planning strategies to overcome barriers to recruitment. Implementation of multiple strategies is recommended to ensure successful research recruitment.

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