Using social media to recruit research participants: a literature review

Kimberley Jones, Barbara Wilson-Keates, Sherri Melrose

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: It may be challenging for researchers to recruit enough participants to have a diverse and representative sample for their studies. Usual recruitment methods that were historically effective can be difficult to use because of high costs, time constraints and geographical limitations. Social media is a low-cost, time-saving alternative. AIM: To summarise the benefits and challenges of using social media for recruitment. DISCUSSION: This article provides an overview of social media. It considers the advantages of social media for recruitment, including its cost-effectiveness, accessibility, speed and potential exposure for researchers. It also discusses the challenges of using social media for recruitment, including ethical ambiguity, homogenous sampling and questionable validity of information gathered. CONCLUSION: Using social media for research saves time and reduces costs, increasing access to hard-to-reach populations and the reach of recruitment efforts. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Options for researchers wishing to use social media for study recruitment are outlined, as are strategies for managing some of the challenges involved in this recruitment method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalNurse researcher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar. 2024


  • communication
  • literature review
  • methodology
  • research
  • social media
  • study recruitment


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