Editor’s note: Kate Ridoux is the project director, qualitative recruitment division at Touchstone Research. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “Building Trust with Parents: 5 Strategies for Recruiting Kids in Qualitative Research.” 

Building trust with parents is one of the most critical elements in recruiting children for qualitative research studies. Parents play a pivotal role in guiding and supporting their children during the research process, so it is essential for recruitment agencies to build a positive rapport with parents and gain their trust. In this article, we emphasize the importance of fostering a strong relationship with parents and offer five strategies for creating a comfortable, respectful and supportive environment during the research recruitment process.

Transparency is crucial when working with parents. Recruitment firms must ensure that all communications regarding study details are accurate and clearly outline the objectives, methods and potential benefits of the research study. Consent forms, for example, should include an overview of the study design, any potential risks or discomforts, how the data will be used and how their child’s privacy will be protected. Sharing this information upfront ensures parents understand both the risks and benefits of participation and enables parents to make an informed decision about their child’s participation.

Establishing an open line of communication with parents is key to building trust. Parents should be provided with a designated point of contact that they can reach out to throughout the research process. All questions should be answered promptly with clear and concise answers. Parents should be encouraged to ask questions and express any concerns they may have during the process – this will ensure they feel heard, valued and involved in their child’s participation.

Parents may hav...