Recruiting Migrants for Health Research Through Social Network Sites: An Online Survey Among Chinese Migrants in Australia

Jie Hu, Zhiqiang Wang

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Background: Traditionally, postal surveys or face to face interviews are the main approaches for health researchers to obtain essential research data. However, with the prevalence of information technology and Internet, Web-based surveys are gaining popularity in health research.

Objective: This study aims to report the process and outcomes of recruiting Chinese migrants through social network sites in Australia and to examine the sample characteristics of online recruitment by comparing the sample which was recruited by an online survey to a sample of Australian Chinese migrants collected by a postal survey.

Methods: Descriptive analyses were performed to describe and compare the process and outcomes of online recruitment with postal survey questionnaires. Chi square tests and t tests were performed to assess the differences between the two samples for categorical and continuous variables respectively.

Results: In total, 473 Chinese migrants completed the online health survey from July to October 2013. Out of 426 participants recruited through the three Chinese social network sites in Australia, over 86.6% (369/426) were recruited within six weeks. Participants of the Web-based survey were younger, with a higher education level or had resided in Australia for less time compared to those recruited via a postal survey. However, there was no significant difference in gender, marital status, and professional occupation.

Conclusions: The recruitment of Chinese migrants through social network sites in our online survey was feasible. Compared to a postal survey of Chinese migrants, the online survey attracted different group of Chinese migrants who may have diverse health needs and concerns. Our findings provided insightful information for researchers who are considering employing a Web-based approach to recruit migrants and ethnic minority participants.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere46
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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