PhD graduate Kat Kolar on the Recruitment of Research Participants from Marginalized Communities

PhD graduate Kat Kolar, in collaboration with Chris Atchinson (UVic), published an article in Social Science Computer Review. The article explores how the internet and technology can aid researchers in recruiting difficult to find research participants when individuals may otherwise avoid participating due to fear of stigma.

Kat Kolar obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs.

We have posted the citation and abstract from the article below. The full text can be accessed from Research Gate here.

Kolar, Kat and Chris Atchinson. 2013. “Recruitment of Sex Buyers: A Comparison of the Efficacy of Conventional and Computer-Based Approaches.” Social Science Computer Review, 31(2):178-190.

In this article we draw upon data from a large-scale mixed methods investigation of clients of commercial sex workers in Canada to illustrate the potential value that understanding and integrating computer and network technology has for enhancing access to, and participation from, marginalized and stigmatized populations. In particular, we present qualitative data from analysis of our research field notes as well as an analysis of quantitative data from response monitoring and feedback features built into the actual data collection process to help support our argument that, for some populations, network technology–based recruitment strategies should be recognized as the preferred recruitment option. In addition, we discuss the potential utility and application of viral solicitation, a newly emerging computer network-based nonprobability technique, for contacting and securing the participation of stigmatized and marginalized research participants. Our recruitment of sex buyers through web-based listserves was the most successful participant solicitation strategy, generating 63.18% (n = 544) of our survey respondents. Conventional recruitment (advertising in print-based media and in adult-oriented businesses) generated few participants (2.90%, n = 25). Viral solicitation acted as an important low-cost supplemental means of recruitment, generating a further 164 survey participants (19.05% of survey participants).

Read the full article here.