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  • Ann Richardson
  • Margaret Sutherland
  • Libby Plumridge
  • Gillian Abel
  • Cheryl Brunton


Recruitment of patients for primary care-based research can be very difficult. This problem has been reported in New Zealand, and also in other countries such as England and Australia. It is important to investigate this problem if we are to continue to undertake research in primary care.

In our informal discussions with general practitioners we found that they were keen to take part in research, but felt that they did not have enough time, and also tended to forget about the projects. This project will use quantitative and qualitative methods to explore barriers to recruitment in primary care.

Proposal for discussion

A combined quantitative and qualitative approach.

Questionnaire to GPs to collect demographic data and information about practices (eg: sole versus group practices, the role of the practice nurse in research, consulting times).

Focus groups (?) with GPs who recruited patients and those who did not manage to recruit any patients), to investigate factors which helped/prevented recruitment.

Possibly we could collaborate with Wellington School of Medicine, where the Dept of General Practice has had similar problems?


  • Bell-Syer SEM, Klaber Moffett JA. Recruiting patients to randomized trials in primary care: principles and case study. Family Practice 2000; 17: 187-91.
  • Hunt CJ, Shepherd LM, Andrews G. Do doctors know best? Comments on a failed trial. Med J Australia 2001; 174: 144-6.
  • Murphy E, Spiegal N, Kinmonth AL. "Will you help me with my research?" Gaining access to primary care settings and subjects. Br J General Practice 1992; 42: 162-5.


  • Factors affecting general practitioner involvement in a randomised controlled trial in primary care. Richardson A. Sutherland M. Wells E. Toop L. Plumridge L. New Zealand Medical Journal. 115(1151):153-5, 2002.
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