Participant Recruitment

Recruiting guidance and templates

Different Types of Participants

Participants can be recruited from one or more of the groups shown below. Click on a group for recruiting tips and guidance for your ethics application.

You may recruit study participants from the Faculty of Nursing (faculty and/or students) through a variety of means (e.g., poster display, email through the appropriate channel, at meetings, etc.); however, you will need pre-approval from the appropriate Nursing Associate Dean before beginning. While completing your ethics application, please also fill out this form to initiate this approval process.

While the process will depend on your study and the population you are examining, generally recruitment is performed via poster displays in hospital units/community settings or email invitations. Some projects may require e-mail distribution through a listserv (e.g., through a CARNA mass e-mail to recruit nurses across Alberta) or via a unit manager (e.g., to recruit providers from a specific unit for surveys or interviews).

NOTE: Healthcare provider recruitment generally requires operational pre-approval from the governing health authority (e.g., AHS or Covenant Health).

AHS has developed guidelines and rules about patient recruitment for research projects. While specific to AHS, these guidelines are similar to those you would need to follow at any site or unit.

NOTE: Patient recruitment generally requires operational pre-approval from the governing health authority (e.g., AHS or Covenant Health).


Generally, recruitment can be accomplished in several ways depending on the context of your project and the target group that you would like to involve in your study. For example, you may put flyers or posters on bulletin boards in the hallways of a community organization, use snowball sampling to identify additional appropriate people to recruit, send emails to selected individuals or groups, or post ads on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook or Instagram) or online discussion boards.

NOTE: many of these recruitment methods may require you to seek permission in advance. For example, you may need permission to place a poster in an organization's hallway, post an online ad in a closed group or page on a social network platform, or send email via listservs.

Templates and Guidelines

The Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (CHREB) website provides templates for “Consent to Contact” and “Telephone Scripts”.

The following resources were developed by the Nursing Research Office as examples – use any colours, pictures, etc. that you like - or make your own!

This information sheet provides guidance on recruiting participants via social media.