Using social media to recruit research participants: a literature review
Evidence and practice    

Using social media to recruit research participants: a literature review

Kimberley Jones Graduate, Athabasca University, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
Barbara Wilson-Keates Academic coordinator, Athabasca University, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada
Sherri Melrose Associate professor, Athabasca University, Athabasca, Alberta, Canada

Why you should read this article:
  • To gain an overview of social media for those who may be unfamiliar with its uses

  • To appreciate the advantages and challenges of using social media for recruitment

  • To provide a valuable resource for anyone considering their research recruitment options

Background It may be challenging for researchers to recruit enough participants to have a diverse and representative sample for their studies. Usual recruitment methods that were historically effective can be difficult to use because of high costs, time constraints and geographical limitations. Social media is a low-cost, time-saving alternative.

Aim To summarise the benefits and challenges of using social media for recruitment.

Discussion This article provides an overview of social media. It considers the advantages of social media for recruitment, including its cost-effectiveness, accessibility, speed and potential exposure for researchers. It also discusses the challenges of using social media for recruitment, including ethical ambiguity, homogenous sampling and questionable validity of information gathered.

Conclusion Using social media for research saves time and reduces costs, increasing access to hard-to-reach populations and the reach of recruitment efforts.

Implications for practice Options for researchers wishing to use social media for study recruitment are outlined, as are strategies for managing some of the challenges involved in this recruitment method.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2023.e1859

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

kimberley.jones17@gmail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Jones K, Wilson-Keates B, Melrose S (2023) Using social media to recruit research participants: a literature review. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2023.e1859

Published online: 18 December 2023

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