J. Med. Internet Res. - Web-based recruiting for health research using a social networking site: an exploratory study.


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CKGROUND: Recruitment of young people for health research by traditional methods has become more expensive and challenging over recent decades. The Internet presents an opportunity for innovative recruitment modalities.OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of recruiting young females using targeted advertising on the social networking site Facebook.METHODS: We placed an advertisement on Facebook from May to September 2010, inviting 16- to 25-year-old females from Victoria, Australia, to participate in a health study. Those who clicked on the advertisement were redirected to the study website and were able to express interest by submitting their contact details online. They were contacted by a researcher who assessed eligibility and invited them to complete a health-related survey, which they could do confidentially and securely either at the study site or remotely online.RESULTS: A total of 551 females responded to the advertisement, of whom 426 agreed to participate, with 278 completing the survey (139 at the study site and 139 remotely). Respondents' age distribution was representative of the target population, while 18- to 25-year-olds were more likely to be enrolled in the study and complete the survey than 16- to 17-year-olds (prevalence ratio=1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.05-1.78, P=.02). The broad geographic distribution (major city, inner regional, and outer regional/remote) and socioeconomic profile of participants matched the target population. Predictors of participation were older age, higher education level, and higher body mass index. Average cost in advertising fees per compliant participant was US $20, making this highly cost effective.CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrate the potential of using modern information and communication technologies to engage young women in health research and penetrate into nonurban communities. The success of this method has implications for future medical and population research in this and other demographics.

Resumo Limpo

ckground recruit young peopl health research tradit method becom expens challeng recent decad internet present opportun innov recruit modalitiesobject assess feasibl recruit young femal use target advertis social network site facebookmethod place advertis facebook may septemb invit yearold femal victoria australia particip health studi click advertis redirect studi websit abl express interest submit contact detail onlin contact research assess elig invit complet healthrel survey confidenti secur either studi site remot onlineresult total femal respond advertis agre particip complet survey studi site remot respond age distribut repres target popul yearold like enrol studi complet survey yearold preval ratio confid interv p broad geograph distribut major citi inner region outer regionalremot socioeconom profil particip match target popul predictor particip older age higher educ level higher bodi mass index averag cost advertis fee per compliant particip us make high cost effectiveconclus result demonstr potenti use modern inform communic technolog engag young women health research penetr nonurban communiti success method implic futur medic popul research demograph

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