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A review of social media methods and lessons learned from the National Children’s Study

  • Amelia Burke-Garcia (a1), Kate Winseck (a2), Leslie Cooke Jouvenal (a3), David Hubble (a1) and Kathryn M. Kulbicki (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction

Given the reach and influence of social media, the National Children’s Study Vanguard Study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and cost of using social media to support participant retention.

Methods

We describe a social media experiment designed to assess the impact of social media on participant retention, discuss several key considerations for integrating social media into longitudinal research, and review factors that may influence engagement in research-related social media.

Results

User participation varied but was most active when at launch. During the short life of the private online community, a total of 39 participants joined. General enthusiasm about the prospect of the online community was indicated. There were many lessons learned throughout the process in areas such as privacy, security, and Institutional Review Board clearance. These are described in detail.

Conclusions

The opportunity to engage participants in longitudinal research using online social networks is enticing; however, more research is needed to consider the feasibility of their use in an ongoing manner. Recommendations are presented for future research seeking to use social media to improve retention in longitudinal research.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permitsnon-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original work is unaltered and isproperly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Pressmust be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: A. Burke-Garcia, M.A., Ph.D., Westat, 1600 Research Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. (Email: ameliaburke-garcia@westat.com)

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