Margaux Fête, Valéry Ridde et al. « Barriers and recruitment strategies for precarious status migrants in Montreal, Canada », BMC Medical Research Methodology, 2019

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Back­ground. Preca­rious status migrants are a group of persons who are vulne­rable, hete­ro­ge­neous, and often suspi­cious of research teams. They are under­re­pre­sented in popu­la­tion-based research projects, and stra­te­gies to recruit them are described exclu­si­vely in terms of a single cultural group. We analyzed the recruit­ment stra­te­gies imple­mented during a research project aimed at unders­tan­ding preca­rious status migrants’ health status and heal­th­care access in Montreal, Canada. The research sample consisted of 854 persons recruited from a variety of ethno­cul­tural commu­ni­ties between June 2016 and September 2017. This article analyzes the stra­te­gies imple­mented by the research team to respond to the chal­lenges of that recruit­ment, and assess the effec­ti­ve­ness of those stra­te­gies. Based on the results, we share the lessons learned with a view to increa­sing preca­rious status migrants’ repre­sen­ta­tion in research.

Method. A mixed sequen­tial design was used to combine quali­ta­tive data gathered from members of the research team at a reflexive work­shop (n = 16) and in indi­vi­dual inter­views (n = 15) with quali­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive data collected using the concep­tual mapping method (n = 10).

Results. The research team encoun­tered chal­lenges in imple­men­ting the stra­te­gies, related to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the target popu­la­tion, the esta­blish­ment of commu­nity part­ner­ships, and suspi­cion on the part of the indi­vi­duals approa­ched. The combi­na­tion of a venue-based sampling method, a commu­ni­ca­tions stra­tegy, and the snow­ball sampling method was key to the recruit­ment. Linking people with resources that could help them was useful in obtai­ning their effec­tive and non-instru­mental parti­ci­pa­tion in the study. Crea­ting a diverse and multi­cul­tural team helped build trust with parti­ci­pants. However, the stra­tegy of matching the ethno­cul­tural iden­tity of the inter­viewer with that of the respondent was not syste­ma­ti­cally effective.

Conclu­sion. The inter­vie­wers’ expe­rience and their unders­tan­ding of the issue are impor­tant factors to take into consi­de­ra­tion in future research. More over, the deve­lop­ment of a commu­nity resource guide tailored to the needs of parti­ci­pants should be major compo­nents of any research project targe­ting migrants. Finally, stra­te­gies should be imple­mented as the result of a conti­nuous reflexive process among all members of the research team.