The InterFace of Social Media Recruitment and Nursing Education Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Computers, informatics, nursing : CIN




This study describes using social media in recruiting a large and hard-to-reach national sample of family nurse practitioner students in the United States enrolled in their final clinical course and the impact on survey response targets. Social media recruitment was initiated when sample targets were not met using traditional, direct email invitations. A cross-sectional, observational, complex-samples survey design was used to collect data from students enrolled in accredited programs. When inviting participants via emails to schools of nursing and program administrators was only moderately successful, direct recruitment via social media sites was used. Targeted study advertisements were shown 602 389 times to 77 410 unique Facebook users over 14 months. In the final sample of 3940 study participants, 46% (n = 1811) were recruited through social media. Survey responses for health education research are typically 50% or less of the target. Using Facebook was successful for recruiting a large, geographically disperse and representative student sample necessary to ensure findings were representative and generalizable. This recruitment strategy could be effectively used for a myriad of research in areas where social media use exists to gain access to participants who might otherwise not be accessible.


Nursing Faculty Publications