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postmenopause, recruitment techniques, social networking



  1. Waltman, Nancy L.
  2. Smith, Kara M.
  3. Kupzyk, Kevin A.
  4. Lappe, Joan M.
  5. Mack, Lynn R.
  6. Bilek, Laura D.


Background: Few researchers have focused on the challenges of recruiting postmenopausal women for community-based research. Researchers have reported that multiple methods may be needed to recruit the required number of subjects. One contemporary approach to recruitment is use of Facebook. More studies are needed examining Facebook as a recruitment strategy.


Objective: The aim of the study was to examine which recruitment methods were most successful and cost-effective in recruiting postmenopausal women for a randomized controlled trial on bone loss.


Methods: Subjects were 276 postmenopausal women who had osteopenia and were within 5 years of menopause. Multiple methods were used to recruit women. To determine which methods were successful, women were asked how they learned about the study. Descriptive data were used to examine recruitment numbers as well as to determine the cost-effectiveness and enrollment efficiency of recruitment methods.


Results: Healthcare provider letters yielded the highest number of enrolled subjects (n = 58), followed by postcard mailings (n = 47), and Facebook posts (n = 44). Eleven subjects were referred by family and friends, five subjects were from newspaper or television, and two were from digital ads. Cost of recruitment per subject enrolled was highest with digital ads and postcard mailings.


Discussion: Recruitment could be more costly and time-consuming than anticipated. Recruitment using direct-targeted mailings, such as provider letters and postcards, was successful in our study and has been effective in previous studies reviewed. Facebook was successful for recruitment in our study and may continue to be useful for recruitment in the future, as the number of women accessing Facebook continues to increase.