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J Sch Health. 1997 Dec;67(10):415-21.

Recruitment issues in school-based research: lessons learned from the High 5 Alabama Project.

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  • 1Dept. of Health Behavior, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294-0022, USA.


School-based research requires a multi-level recruitment process to ensure an adequate sample. This article describes the High 5 Alabama recruitment experience at four levels; district, school, classroom and individual. One hundred percent of 28 schools across three districts and 108 classroom teachers contacted agreed to participate. Moderate success (69%) at the individual level, which required active parental consent for the student and parent to participate, resulted in 1,698 student/parent participants. An examination of differences between participants and nonparticipants revealed under-representation of a subsample of the population in the project sample. Suggestions obtained from project staff and teachers intended to enhance future school-based recruitment strategies include enlistment of a district advocate; meeting with teachers to solicit support; using incentives with students and teachers; direct contact with parents; having teachers keep rosters of students returning consent forms; and tailoring recruitment strategies for specific subpopulations.

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