Flexibility, maintaining connection and texting all helped sustain participation rates

October 26, 2020

How do you persuade busy young mothers to participate in a scientific trial that’s going to last more than two years? The BC Healthy Connections Project achieved this goal by using a number of strategies. These included:

  • Offering to perform research interviews on weekends and evenings.
  • Changing the type of contact to suit the needs of participants who were aged 14–24 years.
  • Making texting the preferred style of contact.
  • Personalizing the connection by showing appreciation and conveying genuine interest.

Many of the 739 participants said they enjoyed contributing to research and having their voices heard, through the survey data. They especially appreciated being able to feel that someone was listening and was interested in their lives.

The trial, which started in 2011, was designed as a scientific evaluation of the Nurse-Family Partnership, a landmark US program focusing on children born to girls and young women who are facing disadvantages such as low income. The program starts early — in pregnancy, before children are even born — and involves intensive home visits from public health nurses.

For more information on how the BC Healthy Connections Project maintained its impressive participation rates, see the team’s paper recently published in Trials.