Top 3 Tips To Improve Your Research Participation

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HUTS 2 or the Healthcare UTilisation and Seroprevalence Repeat Survey has got off to a roaring start, with our self-given target of participants sampled per day exceeded by 606.67% on average. Learn from our 20 years of experience and see how you can also boost those participation numbers in your research!

Step 1: Team Building

Do team building exercises with your study team. This skips the fighting and awkwardness that characterises the storming phase of a team coming together for the first time. If you look below, you can see some examples of the games, and activities we did together. We have found that getting communication going and having fun early on not only makes work more enjoyable for our teams, but translates to how people work together.

Step 2: Train on Sales Techniques

Train your team on sales and marketing techniques. Get your participants to better understand and get excited about your study by teaching your team presentation skills they can use to promote the benefits of taking part in your study when in the field.

Step 3: Pay a Set Salary

If you decide not to do the fieldwork/data collection yourself, and you are going to have paid team members. Pay your team a set salary, with prizes only used to recognize outstanding achievement amongst your team.

When studies pay their teams on commission and link getting food for the month to achieving study goals (e.g. collecting 30 surveys a week per team) this incentives cheating as people feel they need to cheat in order to survive each month. This is especially true if you make getting certain numbers necessary for team leaders to get paid. They will then be inclined to turn a blind eye to cheating in their teams because they want to get paid.

To promote the trustworthiness of your study, Epicentre recommends conducting quality control assessments. We send a high quality trusted team to randomly revisit households to see if the study was preformed appropriately, this picks up any dishonestly amongst study staff.

We also advise doing a little award ceremony at the start of each working week. Pick the top 3 teams from the past week with the highest clean data numbers. Then give them the chance to spin the wheel to determine their prize. This starts the week on a competitive yet friendly high that makes your teams excited to get back to the office after the weekend and to go into the field to collect the most data, so they can win the next week.

Some Context on this project

HUTS 2 is a big COVID-19 research study which is taking place in Mitchells Plain & Edendale. Epicentre is conducting fieldwork for our partners, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), and Genesis Analytics.

We are doing a questionnaire with invited people that answered our questions during the last HUTS wave. We’ll also be taking a small amount of blood from them to find out if they have had COVID-19 in the past, and very importantly what their current HIV status & viral load is.

This is so crucial because during COVID-19, the HIV pandemic in South Africa has continued to affect millions of people across our country. Many people struggled to get their ARVs as lockdowns, pay and job cuts made getting to clinics difficult. So it’s important to know how this has impacted many people living with this disease.

Learn More About Our Studies

If you are conducting your research in Southern Africa or beyond, Epicentre can help you get great data. We have been conducting successful research since 2001. Draw on our extensive experience now.

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