Strategies to enhance recruitment of rural-dwelling older people into community-based trials

Sakuntala Anuruang, Patricia Mary Davidson, Debra Jackson, Louise Hickman

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Aim To describe strategies that can enhance the recruitment of rural-dwelling older people into clinical trials. Background Recruitment to studies can be time-consuming and challenging. Moreover, there are challenges associated with recruiting older people, particularly those living in rural areas. Nevertheless, an adequate sample size is crucial to the validity of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Data sources The authors draw on the literature and their personal experiences, to present a range of flexible and inclusive strategies that have been successfully used to recruit older people into clinical trials. Review methods This paper describes attempts to improve recruitment of rural-dwelling, older Thai people to a clinical trial. Discussion To attract potential participants, researchers should consider minimising the burden of their study and maximising its benefits or convenience for participants. Three factors that may influence participation rates are: personal factors of participants, researchers' personal attributes, and protocol factors. In addition, three important strategies contribute to improving recruitment: understanding the culture of the research setting, identifying the 'gatekeepers' in the setting and building trust with stakeholders. Conclusion Even though the study covered did not recruit a large number of participants, these understandings were crucial and enabled recruitment of a sufficient number of participants in a reasonable timeframe. Implications for practice/research These strategies may be of use in rural settings and with different communities including urban communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationNurse Researcher
StatePublished - 2015


  • Community-based intervention
  • Gatekeepers
  • Older people
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Recruitment
  • Rural dwelling
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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