Department Research Methods| Volume 30, ISSUE 5, P495-498, September 2016

Effective Practices to Improve Recruitment, Retention, and Partnerships in School-Based Studies

      Schools are essential settings for research that tests the effectiveness of health educational interventions in natural settings (classrooms). There are several reasons schools are important research settings. First, public schools serve over 50 million youth, and private schools serve an additional 5 million youth (
      United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics
      All levels of education.
      ). Most school-aged children are served by formal schools and spend most of their waking hours in school settings. Second, schools serve as a focus of community activity and identity. Many schools host community events including after-school programs, summer programs, community meetings, and official polling locations for elections. Third, school settings enable health programs to efficiently reach large numbers of children and their families. Strong partnerships with school personnel and stakeholders enhance the reach and impact of these programs. Although schools are an important setting for recruitment efforts, there are also important barriers to using schools as a setting for research projects. The purpose of this article is to describe challenges to implementing scientific studies in schools and ways to develop effective practices to improve recruitment and retention and to sustain partnerships in school-based studies. A series of practical strategies for effective collaboration between schools and research projects will be shared.
      With a call for broader dissemination and translation of research into real-world settings, the need for school-based studies has increased.

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      Laureen H. Smith, Associate Professor and Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.


      Rick L. Petosa, Professor, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.