Community-based research: Barriers to recruitment of African Americans

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Dancy, Barbara L
Wilbur, JoEllen
Talashek, Marie
Bonner, Gloria
Barnes-Boyd, Cynthia
Dancy, Barbara L and Wilbur, JoEllen and Talashek, Marie and Bonner, Gloria and Barnes-Boyd, Cynthia (2004) Community-based research: Barriers to recruitment of African Americans. Nursing Outlook, 52 (5). pp. 234-240.
The elimination of health disparities for African Americans requires culturally relevant, empirical knowledge, which in turn requires including African Americans in research studies. However, power-difference barriers and conceptual barriers continue to inhibit the recruitment of African Americans. The purpose of this article is to define and discuss certain barriers to the recruitment of African Americans into research studies and to present culturally and contextually sensitive strategies to overcoming these barriers. Power-difference barriers reflect unequal authority and often generate mistrust. Conceptual barriers reflect researchers’ need for better understanding about African Americans. Effective strategies include collaboration with the community through a community advisory board and conducting community-based participatory action research. Also, integrating alternative conceptual frameworks with mainstream frameworks may reduce researchers’ ideological assumptions about African Americans. To promote optimal recruitment of African Americans, researchers must be aware of power difference barriers and conceptual barriers and move toward active collaboration with African American communities.