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Beyond Traditional Advertisements: Leveraging Facebook's Social Structures for Research Recruitment

This study assessed the feasibility, benefits, and challenges of recruiting for research studies related to consumer health information technology by utilizing Facebook. Researchers found that utilizing the social structures of Facebook for health-related research was feasible for obtaining small samples for qualitative research but not for obtaining large samples needed for quantitative research. The content of interactions with members of the target population prompted ethical deliberations. Researchers concluded that widespread replication of this method would benefit from a broad discussion among researchers, social media users, social media companies, and experts in research ethics to address appropriate protocols for such interactions.

Valdez RS, Guterbock TM, Thompson MJ, et al. Beyond traditional advertisements: Leveraging Facebook's social structures for research recruitment.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 2014;16(10):e243.

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