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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #349831

Title: Participant outcomes from methods of recruitment for videogame research


Submitted to: The Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2017
Publication Date: 2/1/2018
Citation: Ryan, C., Dadabhoy, H., Baranowski, T. 2018. Participant outcomes from methods of recruitment for videogame research. The Games for Health Journal: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications. 7(1):16-23.

Interpretive Summary: Little is known about the most productive sources or methods for recruiting for games for health research. This study reports on several sources and methods for recruiting for research on a game for diet and physical activity change. Over a 35 month period, recruitment was conducted using electronic media, print advertising, community recruitment, and an internal research volunteer list. Interested people were directed to a web-based screening questionnaire, one question of which asked how they heard about the study. Although the media and print advertising reached large numbers of people, they produced few participants. The internal research volunteer list was the most efficient and effective means of recruitment. More controlled research is needed that systematically varies the method for approaching a recruitment channel.

Technical Abstract: The most productive methods of recruitment for a video game for health (G4H) trial are not known. Success or failure of recruitment methods have been reported for a variety of clinical trials, but few specifically for G4H trials. This study's goal was to recruit 444 overweight or obese (BMI percentile between the 84.5th – 99.4th percentiles) children between the ages of 10-12 years. The manuscript reports the results of different methods of participant recruitment. Participants had to agree to 3 fasting blood samples; willing to wear an accelerometer for 7 days; read and speak English fluently; have no history of conditions that affect diet or physical activity; and have an eligible home computer with high speed internet. Recruitment was conducted over a 35 month period, and included electronic media, print advertising, community recruitment, and an internal volunteer list. Respondents were guided to a web-based screening questionnaire which asked for source of hearing about the study. Although diverse recruitment methods were used, slow recruitment resulted in obtaining only 45% of the recruitment goal (n=198). Electronic media (e.g. radio, television, internet) which reached millions of targeted parents resulted in only 76 respondents, of whom 13 became participants; print media (e.g. magazine, newsletter/newspaper, mail) which also reached large numbers of parents resulted in 192 respondents of whom 19 became participants; community recruitment (e.g. school, friend or family, doctors office, flyer, work, community program) resulted in 162 respondents of whom 38 became participants; and the internal volunteer list resulted in 413 respondents of whom 128 became participants. Inclusionary and exclusionary criteria and restricted access by gatekeepers could be deterrents to successful recruitment. The documented payoff of alternative comprehensive methods of recruitment should benefit other investigations in optimally allocating their recruitment resources.