Attributes of researchers and their strategies to recruit minority populations: Results of a national survey

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Quinn, Sandra Crouse and Butler, James and Fryer, Craig S. and Garza, Mary A. and Kim, Kevin H. and Ryan, Christopher and Thomas, Stephen B. (2012) Attributes of researchers and their strategies to recruit minority populations: Results of a national survey. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 33 (6). p. 1231.


Despite NIH mandates for inclusion, recruiting minorities is challenging for biomedical and public health researchers. Little is known about how attributes of researchers affect their choice of recruitment strategies. The purpose of this study was to address this gap by examining how use of recruitment strategies relates to other researcher characteristics. To do this, we conducted an online survey from May to August 2010 with researchers (principal investigators, research staff, and IRB members) in which we measured the number and types of recruitment strategies utilized, along with other characteristics of the researchers and their research. We identified two clusters of researchers: comprehensive researchers who utilized a greater number and more diverse and active recruitment strategies, and traditional researchers, who utilized fewer and more passive strategies. Additional characteristics that distinguished the two groups were that comprehensive researchers were more likely than traditional researchers to 1) report racial and ethnic differences as one of their specific aims or hypotheses, 2) receive federal (CDC and NIH) funding, 3) conduct behavioral or epidemiological research, and 4) have received training in conducting research with and recruiting minorities. Traditional researchers, on the other hand, were more likely to conduct clinical research and a greater (though non-significant) percentage received funding from pharmaceutical sources. This study provides a novel description of how researcher attributes are related to their recruitment strategies and raises a number of future research questions to further examine the implications of this relationship.