Barriers and Facilitators to the recruitment of Black African women for research in the UK: Hard to engage and not hard to reach


Background: Black African women living in the United Kingdom suffer from inequalities in health, care and maternity outcomes compared with their counterparts. Their presence has however been found to be lacking in life-saving healthcare research. As a result of a lack of engagement in healthcare research, some authors have classified them as “hard to reach”. However, in order to reduce the health inequalities experienced by this group, methods for engagement that would suit this population group would need to be explored. Therefore, this study set out to present an ethnic specific perspective of the barriers and facilitators to the recruitment of black African women to research from the researcher’s perspective. Method: Two studies were conducted aimed at the recruitment of Black African women in healthcare research. Proposed recruitment strategies included snowballing, social media (twitter, Facebook), flyers and collaboration with gatekeepers in two NHS trusts in London. The strategies were developed based on a review of literature, best practice ethics guidelines and consultations with experts in the field. Results: Successful recruitment strategies included snowball sampling, word of mouth, peer to peer recruitment and the use of influential members in the community. Existing recruitment strategies were found to be unsuitable to properly engage members of this community. In addition to this, ethical guidelines around informed consent and gatekeeping seem to impede the successful engagement of the members of this community. Conclusion: Proper methods of engagement are required to bridge the inequality gap. Therefore, it is important that ethical procedures, processes, and recruitment methods be reviewed such that it will take into consideration the cultural peculiarities of individuals within this community

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