Encyclopedia Entry

Recruiting Participants

Phyllis J. Eide

In qualitative inquiry, recruitment refers to the process whereby the researcher identifies and invites (recruits) participants to join the study. Qualitative researchers strive to include participants who meet the study criteria and who represent the richest and most complex source of information (data) relevant to the phenomena being studied. The specific research questions will guide the choice of the research design that is best suited to address the study objectives. A major element of the research design involves developing guidelines as to who will be recruited for the proposed study. “Inclusion” and “exclusion” criteria address who will be approached (involving criteria such as age group, diagnosis, geographic location, and ethnic background) and, on occasion, when they will be approached (e.g., requiring participants to be at a specific disease stage). Careful design of a sampling strategy and recruitment scheme will help to ensure maximum discovery and knowledge about the phenomena under ...

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