Promoting research participation: why not advertise altruism?

Brian Williams, Vikki Entwistle, Gill Haddow, Mary Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Participation rates have a major impact on the quality, cost and timeliness of health research. There is growing evidence that participation rates may be falling and that new research governance structures and procedures may be increasing the likelihood of recruitment bias. It may be possible to encourage public reflection about research participation and enhance recruitment by providing information about the potential benefits of research to others as well as to research participants and by stimulating debate and influencing social expectations about involvement. Publicly funded and charitable bodies use various forms of advertising to encourage altruistic behaviour and generate social expectations about donating money, blood and organs for the benefit of others. Consideration should be given to the use of similar persuasive communications to promote wider participation in health research generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1456
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date28 Jan 2008
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • response rate
  • research participation
  • altruism
  • media
  • advertising
  • mass communication


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