Using Vignette-Based Methodology to Examine Study Recruitment in Older African American Adults: A Methods Paper

J Urban Health. 2021 Oct;98(Suppl 2):103-114. doi: 10.1007/s11524-021-00567-6. Epub 2021 Jul 28.


This study's objective was to assess which caring recruitment behaviors correlate with the successful recruitment of older African-American adults-a two-step cross-sectional design employing a vignette-based survey methodology. Kristen Swanson's middle-range theory of caring was used to guide the examination of African-American adults' (65 years of age and older) perceptions of research-study-recruiter recruitment behaviors. This study's main findings are twofold: Step 1: Seven of ten invited experts identified major revisions of the two core vignettes, written at an eighth-grade reading level and high school comprehension. Step 2: A 51% response rate yielded findings that this methodology successfully captured older African-American adults' perception of research study recruiters' behavioral characteristics during the recruitment process. Older African-Americans who received the hypothetical caring vignette were twice as likely to indicate their willingness to enroll in a research study with a high commitment (i.e., brain donation) compared to their counterparts who received the hypothetical uncaring recruitment scenario. Vignette-based survey methodology holds promise as a tool for informing the recruitment of older African-American adults and other minorities into federally funded health-related research studies.

Keywords: African-American; Decision-making; Minority; Older adult; Recruitment; Vignette.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires