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Institutional Review Board (IRB): Recruitment Materials

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When do I need recruitment materials?

You are required to write recruitment materials for your IRB application if you plan to conduct human subjects research with adults.

Researchers who are doing research with minors may also write recruitment materials if the research takes place outside of an everyday K-12 educational context.

Introduction to Recruitment

Recruitment is how you inform your potential participants that you are conducting a study and give them an opportunity to indicate their interest in participating.

How can I recruit?

You will recruit your participants by creating recruitment materials and distributing them in a way that will reach your intended population. Here are some common recruitment methods:

  • Email. You can email individuals you already know, find public email addresses, or post to an email listserv.  If their email addresses are private, you should obtain contact permission from the organization or business (even if you work/volunteer there).
  • Social Media Post. You can post to your own social media feed or to a social media group. If the social media group is closed and/or moderated, you should obtain contact permission and include that permission in your IRB application.
  • Physical Flyer. You can post flyers in a physical location that your participants may frequent.
  • Phone Call. You can call individuals you already know or individuals whose phone numbers are publicly available. If their phone numbers are private, you should obtain contact permission from the organization or business (even if you work/volunteer there).
  • Presentation. You can present on your research during a staff meeting or similar type of context. If you are using an organization's resources for this presentation, you should obtain site permission and include that permission in your IRB application.

When can I distribute my recruitment materials?

After you have received IRB approval. You may not collect data until after you have IRB approval.

How do I write recruitment materials if I have multiple participant groups?

If you have multiple participant groups who are all doing the same activities, answering questions about the same topics, and being recruited through the same recruitment methods, you will use the same recruitment materials for all groups. You should add subheadings to the eligibility section to clearly label each group and list the criteria separately for each group.

If any of your participant groups are doing different activities, answering questions about different topics, or being reached through different recruitment methods, you will use separate recruitment materials for each group.

Writing Recruitment Materials

All recruitment materials are required to include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your status as an NCU doctoral student
  • Your contact information
  • The purpose of your research
  • Eligibility criteria for participants
  • Research activities and time commitments
  • Topics you plan to ask questions about in your study
  • Compensation or incentives for participants (if applicable)
  • Link to your online survey or questionnaire (if applicable)
  • Text equivalents and image descriptions for graphics you will post online (if applicable)

Recruitment materials may not include the NCU logo or letterhead.

Templates & Resources

The following templates are optional and are provided as guides:

You will also be required to provide a Readability Report for your recruitment materials.

Get feedback on your recruitment materials

The NCU IRB recommends that you receive feedback on your recruitment materials before you submit your IRB application:

Submitting Recruiting Materials

You will upload your recruitment materials in the "Recruitment" section of your IRB application.

The documents you upload to your IRB application should be ready to send to the participants. Double-check the following:

  • If you used one of our templates, make sure all instructions have been removed
  • Remove any Track Changes or comments from your chair or the IRB
  • Do not include any labeling or formatting from your dissertation (Appendix, etc.)