Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Jorgens, K. 2021. Qualitative Assessment of Barriers and Facilitators to Research Participation in The Birth Outcomes and Water Study. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Kaili Jorgens 2021.


Understanding the facilitators and barriers to participation in research studies is essential to best develop study protocols and achieve successful recruitment numbers. In an epidemiological study of birth outcomes and water quality (BOW study), interviews were conducted with potential or actual mothers recruited to participate in the study to uncover their perceptions. Qualitative analysis of the interviews was conducted, and major themes of barriers and facilitators emerged. These themes were examined with respect to case/control status of the participants, thereby understanding how having or not having a child with a birth defect is impactful on participation in the BOW study. Few differences were present between case and control participants overall, but some specific themes saw a slight variation. Interviewees cited a larger motivator to contribute for the overall greater good in comparison to personal benefit. Financial incentive was not as enticing to participants but was an effective way to mitigate barriers of the study that were time consuming, costly, or inconvenient. Effective communication with researchers emerged as a key facilitator for participants of the study, particularly aiding in building trust towards the researchers and study as a whole. The discovered themes provide insight into motives of research participants generally, as well as serve as specific points for improvement for future similar studies.