Time and cost for recruiting older adults

Stephanie Taylor-Davis, Helen Smiciklas-Wright, Andrew C. Davis, Gordon L. Jensen, Diane C. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to examine the time requirements and costs of recruiting older adults for participation in a medical center-/university-sponsored, home-based nutrition education study. A two-step recruitment strategy consisting of an introductory letter followed by a telephone call was used. DESIGN: A random selection of 1300 individuals aged 60 to 74 years was drawn from a patient database of a large, rural, tertiary care hospital to receive introductory letters and recruitment telephone calls. One week after the mailing, potential subjects were contacted by trained interviewers and asked to participate in a home-based nutrition education study. PARTICIPANTS: Men and women, aged 60 to 74 years, whose names appeared in a rural, tertiary care hospital database. MEASUREMENTS: Recruitment rate, time required for recruitment by telephone, and cost of the combined mailing and telephone recruitment effort. RESULTS: Of the 1300 individuals selected, 1077 (83%) people were contacted by phone and 223 (17%) people were unable to be reached. A total of 2895 calling attempts were required to determine the recruitment status of those identified as potential participants. Of those reached by phone, the recruitment rate was 45%. The total cost (mailing, telephone, and database management) per recruited subject was $8.56. CONCLUSION: This study has helped to establish the costs of recruitment for home-based education interventions using a two-step strategy of an introductory mailing and follow-up telephone interview.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-757
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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