Recruitment is the process of identifying potential subjects, contacting those individuals (if applicable), and screening, which involves making the final determination about whether a subject meets the inclusion/exclusion criteria for the study, and any procedures necessary to get the information needed to make that determination.
Common recruitment methods include:
- Recruitment by interactions with individuals. For example, posters, flyers, or advertisements designed to inform the public of the study and to get subjects to contact the study team;
- Recruitment by third parties, such as doctors in other departments of a hospital, or clinics or private practices that refer potential subjects to contact the research team;
- Accessing existing data or biospecimens for the purpose of determining whether an individual or his/her data or specimen may be included in a study.
Recruitment is considered the beginning of the informed consent process; as such, study teams are required to describe their recruitment plan to the IRB in the human subjects application. For studies that only involve secondary use of data or specimens, the recruitment plan describes where the data or specimens are located and how they will be accessed by the study team.
Please see the IU HRPP Policy on Recruitment of Human Subjects for specific requirements. Additional guidance on some topics is provided below.