Recruitment update for pharmacy student study

This week I re-started the recruitment and testing for our pharmacy student study. I had to pause recruitment and testing for this study for the whole of December and January whilst the students were away for their Christmas holidays and then the exam period in the new year. So I was well and truly ready to get stuck back in to the data collection. I can’t wait till I’ve completed the first study so that we can run our analyses and see what is happening.

The good news is I made a very good start in this first week as I managed to test six students. I have got another 4 booked in this week and then a couple for the following week. However, frustratingly I need about another 20 people to sign up and I am struggling to get there. My posters, visits to lectures and 2 recruitment e-mails have only pulled in those 12 or so participants, I have one e-mail reminder left and then I am not sure what I am going to do next to get students participating in my study other than relying on the snowball effect from now on.

I now know I have chosen a difficult group to study and I am starting to understand why the researchers whose work I am trying to replicate and extend used psychology undergraduates, not pharmacy undergraduates. The advantage to using Psychology students for research is they have to take part in experiments to gain course credits – so you have a captive audience. When I did my psychology degree we all had to do 10hrs research participation every term for 3 years mostly taking part in post-grads research. So in total those postgrads got 90hrs of my time! For free! Pharmacy students dont have to take part in research and are not used to being invited to take part in research either. Plus pharmacy students have a huge work load (especially compared to psychology students) so it does not surprise me that I am struggling to get loads of volunteers.

However this study is important and just because a population is hard to reach/engage it doesn’t mean you should not involve them in research – in fact not to do so leads to biased research in any given area. So I will keep going! I have one last hope that this term I help teach on the health psychology module to my target participants and so maybe seeing me once a week for the next few months will help me keep my project in their minds and maybe they will eventually sign up.

Having had a mini rant I must also add that I have been so pleased to meet everyone who has taken part so far. They have all been lovely and enthusiastic and have had lots of helpful insights into the real world application of my research. More than that, having met them all I am super impressed with all these soon to be pharmacists that the University of Bath are producing. I am not saying this because it is the corporate line, I honestly can’t sing their praises enough when I compare myself to them at their age I had no clue how to act professionally and yet they are becoming true professionals already. Plus their knowledge on medicines is immense. It is very impressive.

I hope to bring you lots of positive recruitment updates over the next few weeks and fingers crossed I may even reach my targets soon.

P.s. I’ve updated my recruitment syringe on the homepage as I’ve now tested 30 participants in total!

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4 Comments

  1. Argh – how frustrating! This may sound silly (and I’m not sure if you have to get Uni of Bath pharmacy students), but have you thought about contacting departments at other uni’s – either close by or around the country? Maybe one e-mail out to a department person might get forwarded and help with recruitment that way? Like I said, not sure of the specifics, but racking my brain to think how I can be helpful 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah!

      Great idea – clearly we think alike because this is my plan B. If I absolutely can’t get students recruited through the bunch we have here in Bath I will try recruiting from other schools of pharmacy. But I am hoping it won’t come to that. At the moment I don’t have research ethics approval to approach other schools of pharmacy and I would have to get ethical approval from each university, so I am going to hold off until the end of this term – and if I don’t get enough students then I will go to the other schools of pharmacy and see if they will let me loose (so to speak) on their students. I think our pharmacy students are just super busy – you should see their timetables – compared to my final year of my psych degree which was 4 hours of lectures a week – they are lucky if they have 4 hours off in their 8am-6pm days of teaching (I exaggerate a little) but they do have very full timetables. On the upside – they don’t have to do nearly as many essays or research projects as I had to do so I didn’t get off that lightly because of our lack of lectures! I have to go through this process again next year to recruit for my second study (working with next year’s cohort of 4th years) so maybe at somepoint I can pick your brains- see if you can suggest things I can do on my posters and ads to help me entice more participants!! Its hard to look at it from a prospective participant’s perspective sometimes…

      Reply
      • Haha – no worries! Feel free to pick my brain anytime… see, this is where cross-discipline information sharing comes in handy 🙂

      • It does – as you know I am a big fan of cross-disciplinary working! One thing I am hoping to get ethics for – which you might be interested in, is a competition…but I can’t write anything else about it until I get ethics (I’ll send you a sneak preview at some point – it will make you giggle)! That is my one slightly creative approach to recruitment, but I bet you can think of loads more creative ideas. Research ethics is great – it is so prescriptive that you can feel confident you aren’t doing anything unethical to your participants – which is very important. However, because it is so prescriptive I think it means I don’t tend to think outside of the box enough when it comes to recruitment strategies…so any advice you can give me would be much appreciated 🙂 I will take you for coffee and cake next time we are in the same city and we can discuss!

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