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In this article we reflect on the recruitment of research participants to two related studies of experiences of mental health problems in Black and minority ethnic communities in the United Kingdom. A total of 65 people were recruited via three main strategies: the employment of bicultural recruiters, intensive information sharing about the studies, and work through local community groups. Three main issues seemed to affect recruitment: gatekeepers' attitudes, the (non)payment of participants, and reciprocal arrangements with local community groups. The type of strategy employed resulted in recruits with differing characteristics (although our sample was too small to draw generalizable conclusions). We conclude that to ensure that research participation is accessible to all, researchers must employ flexible recruitment methods that permit adaptation to specific needs arising out of health status, level of involvement with services, culture, and socioeconomic status. Systematic research into this part of the research process is needed.

Original publication




Journal article


Qual Health Res

Publication Date





132 - 143


Adult, Anthropology, Cultural, Caregivers, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Cultural Competency, Female, Humans, Internet, Male, Mental Disorders, Middle Aged, Minority Groups, Patient Selection, Power, Psychological, Researcher-Subject Relations, United Kingdom