1. Attitude is everything.
At every training, there’s always a “can’t” person. For every strategy we suggest (not require) they go to great lengths to explain why you can’t utilize it. IRB won’t like it, violation of confidentiality, not enough staff time, not enough money, ninjas will pounce on you if you do it, etc. One person refuted calling, writing and going by their address. That is going to be tough!
Just for the record, we believe IRB’s, confidentiality and the other factors are of the utmost importance for the safety of your clients and the validity of your research. (If we didn’t believe this, we wouldn’t have lasted an hour, let alone 13 years in research) The point is you need to focus on the many strategies you can utilize within those restrictions, and there are many.
If our advice is taken as more work, as opposed to more opportunity for success, there’s going to be problems. The attitude will guarantee failure. The funny thing is that it’s not our job, our funding, or our research reputation on the line. It’s yours.
And your work is too important to focus on what you can’t do.
2. Researchers are marketers.
We’re sure you love hearing this! But it’s true. You market your project to get funding and client enrollment, but it doesn’t end there. You have to market the return for follow-up to your research participants. Whether you like it or not, human beings are selfish. They do what they want, not what they should. So we will be including marketing concepts and putting them in the research world. You’ve been warned.
3. We can help any longitudinal research study involving human subjects.
Ben (founder) spent all of his time in prevention research (7 years) working with hardcore drug users. So he may mention strategies and stories that you may think only applies to this specific type of research. This is not the case.
The underlying idea or belief is just as important as the specific strategy. For instance, we suggest that prevention researchers find out where and when their clients buy drugs. When you know where someone might be, finding them is easier. So how would that apply to a cancer research subject in her mid-50′s who lives in the Hamptons? Find out where and when she has coffee, or whatever she likes to do. (You might think this is unnecessary because you have her phone number and you’ll just call and she’ll answer, but what if she doesn’t? Expect the unexpected.)
4. We love this stuff.
We seriously are addicted to doing follow-up work. Finding someone who didn’t think they could be found is an amazing feeling for us. We feel it is a game, and we hate losing. A big part of winning is preparation. Have you ever heard the idea of “getting inside the head of the opponent?” It’s not just an idea. It will be the key to tracking your research subjects and as a result, a low attrition rate.
Thanks again for your interest!