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Title: Collect ample contact information
Content: Photo of a Personal Information form. Collect enough information to help locate participants over the duration of the study. Also request contact information for three relatives or friends who are most likely to know where to contact the participants at any given time.
Title: Stay in contact
Content: Photo collage of a smart phone, a tablet and a laptop. Emails and postcard reminders can be sent to participants prior to each data collection period. These can also serve as reminders to participants to keep their contact information up to date.
Title: Provide incentives
Content: Collage of graphics of a gift card, tickets, and music CDs. Incentives are most effective when they are age appropriate (e.g., music CDs and movie passes for students, grocery store gift cards for parents) and proportional to the effort required (i.e., not so large as to be considered coercive).
Title: Consider developing a Web site
Content: Picture of a collage of mobile internet connection devices. Web sites can be used to create an affiliation and sense of belonging for study members, and serve as an effective means for posting such important study information as progress reports and data collection timelines. They can also be used by participants to update contact information and, in some cases, to complete follow-up surveys. Increasingly, researchers and evaluators are using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to retain study participants or maintain ongoing contact with them. While these tools pose potential security and confidentiality issues (which can be overcome or managed), they may be particularly relevant for an evaluation where the primary subjects are teenagers, a group for whom social media outlets are highly salient.
Title: Designate a study representative
Content: Try to identify or recruit one person at each program site to help retain study participants. Study retention can be positively influenced by the presence of a familiar and trusted study representative. Make sure your representative has a strong presence at the program site and established rapport with participants and other stakeholders (e.g., teachers, parents, program staff).
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