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  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

The importance of rapport and relationship building when recruiting to clinical trials: a qualitative investigation of trial recruitment consultations in a surgical RCT

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Trials201516 (Suppl 2) :O37

  • Published:


  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse
  • Potential Participant
  • Pelvic Organ
  • Current Health
  • Recruitment Process


Pelvic organ prolapse affects the quality of life of a large number of women, yet there is not enough evidence to identify which procedures are best for treating vault or uterine prolapse.


The primary aim of this study (VUE-Qual) was to improve understanding of the issues impacting decision making for women invited to take part in a surgical prolapse trial (VUE).


Qualitative analysis of audio-recorded recruitment consultations within VUE between potential participants and recruiter. These interactions (n=6) were systematically evaluated using the Framework approach, and the main themes impacting on the decision making process for trial participation were categorised.


The key findings highlighted the importance of; a) the context to the recruitment consultation, b) the current health status of potential participants at the time of trial invitation, and c) the trial information exchange process. These findings were underpinned by an overarching theme relating to recruiter rapport and relationship building with potential participants. The recruiter demonstrated an important role in terms of being empathetic, reassuring, supportive and attentive when discussing the trial with the participants.


Previous studies have shown that exploring treatment preferences, within the context of recruitment consultations, facilitated recruitment. VUE-Qual has provided a rich insight into how information is discussed in recruitment consultations between potential participants and recruiter in the context of a surgical prolapse trial. It has also identified aspects of the recruitment consultation that should be explored more systematically in other trial recruitment settings to potentially improve the recruitment process.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK


© Constable et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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