When you’re tracking participants, you may not be able to directly contact them. If you’re getting in touch with the occasional collateral contact to no avail, there is a method that may work for you – Shaking the Bushes. This involves contacting all collateral contacts within a short period of time. One of two things will happen: they will offer you help or be annoyed by your contact. Either result will benefit you because they will likely contact your participant to relay the information or express their frustration that your research project is contacting them. Now multiply this by the number of collateral contacts, and you have a loud shakin’ going on.
Even if your participant contacts you with an attitude, your participant still contacted you. This is the ultimate goal. You can always apologize and stress that you only utilize collateral contacts when you can’t find the participant. Maybe they’ll give you a better way to directly contact them in the future.