Recruiting hard-to-reach subjects: Is it worth the effort?

William M. Vollmer, Molly L. Osborne, Stephanie Hertert, A. Sonia Buist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Little information is available on the utility of spending resources to recruit hard-to-reach subjects. In particular, the compliance of such subjects with study protocols and visit schedules has not been documented. We present recruitment data from a two-phase survey of asthma prevalence in which a subset of respondents to a brief screening survey was recruited to attend a 90-min clinic visit. Although 39% of phase I subjects responding to initial contact attempts participated in the second phase of the study, this dropped to 12% among those responding to the sixth contact attempt (a phone follow-up). In studies in which the representatives of the sample is not of paramount importance, we see little benefit in aggressively seeking to recruit hard-to-reach subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalControlled Clinical Trials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Recruitment
  • clinical trials
  • compliance
  • methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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