Recruiting and Retaining People With Disabilities for Qualitative Health Research: Challenges and Solutions

Jennifer R. Banas*, Susan Magasi, Kim The, David E. Victorson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


There are 56.7 million people with disabilities (PWD) living in the United States; yet, PWD are significantly underrepresented in health research. Even when researchers purposively seek to include PWD in studies, challenges emerge related to recruitment and retention, leading to inadequate representation and surface understandings of this population. This in turn contributes to the perpetuation of implicit and explicit health disparities that are already experienced by this population. Grounded within a qualitative, community-based participatory health research framework, we highlight challenges associated with recruiting and retaining PWD in health research, including a critical analysis of the research enterprise structure, how this disables accessible research practices for PWD, and leads to continued skepticism among PWD regarding the value of participating in research. Finally, we propose solutions to create and maintain a culture of access and inclusion as well as long-term collaborative and equity-focused partnerships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1064
Number of pages9
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • North American
  • community-based participatory research
  • health research
  • literature review
  • people with disabilities
  • qualitative
  • qualitative research
  • quantitative research
  • recruitment and retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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