Recruitment of Research Study Participants

Scientific progress depends on successful recruitment and retention of participants in research studies. Often the most difficult and challenging aspect of conducting research studies can be the execution of efficient and effective recruitment and retention strategies of research study participants.  Implementing these strategies can dramatically contribute to increased workload and complexity of managing research studies, but can be pivotal to the success of achieving key research objectives.

It is also important to design a protocol that will clearly identify the study population and allow for easy identification and enrollment of participants. Complex protocols should be reviewed for recruitment feasibility.  If the complexity is not necessary for answering the scientific question, then the researcher should consider revising the protocol for easier participant recruitment.

CCTS Recruitment/Retention Services

Recruitment, and in fact retention, begins with the first contact that a potential participant has with your study.   Each protocol is unique, but the first impression the public has of your study is the most important. The CCTS can help you make that best first impression by discussing best practices and assisting in the development of brochures, flyers, mailings, surveys, posters, newsletters and appointment reminder strategies for IRB approval. The CCTS can also help you strategically plan for recruitment of special populations. 

Recruitment Resources

ResearchMatch is a complementary participant recruitment tool that was created through the collaboration of institutions involved with the CTSA Consortium, including The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH).  ResearchMatch aims to ‘match’ two groups of people: ResearchMatch Volunteers (individuals who wish to learn about studies that might be of interest to them) with ResearchMatch Researchers (researchers who register their study through this tool).

ResearchMatch can be used as an additional recruitment strategy for your study.  There are thousands of volunteers registered in this database and about 12% of the national registry is located in Ohio; 10% are within 25 miles of Ohio State and NCH.  ResearchMatch can be included in the initial protocol submission and in future amendments as a specific participant recruitment tool. 

StudySearch is a web-based application that provides a searchable listing of research studies at Ohio State and NCH seeking volunteers. StudySearch contains basic descriptive information about each study including study title, the purpose of the study, eligibility criteria and study personnel contact information.  A user-friendly keyword search feature is also available which can easily search conditions, interventions, and other eligibility criteria.

When you register your trial with it will automatically download information into lay language for this listing.  According to the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of November 1997, trials "of experimental treatments for serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions” must be registered with  If your research study is not required to be registered with then your research study can be added to the StudySearch database by the CCTS team.

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) is a first-of-its-kind nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and informing the public, patients, medical/research communities, the media, and policy makers about clinical research and the role each party plays in the process.  This organization is a good resource for research participation promotion.

Resources for Locating Available Clinical Trials