Recruiting parents-to-be for a major national research project

Life Study - University College London (UCL)

Life Study scoped the ability to recruit a truly representative UK cohort – including those from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds – to a national birth cohort study (research that follows parents to be, then their babies, over the course of their lives).  RandallFox was asked to create and cost a communications strategy that would:

  • Reach and engage the broadest social and cultural mix of families
  • Involve participants in the co-creation and launch of the study
  • Assess the communications resources, structure and budget needed to recruit and retain about 80,000 babies and their families to the study
  • Meet the highest ethical requirements; providing comprehensive yet accessible information on complex issues to a wide range of audiences.
RandallFox brought together a large and seemingly unmanageable piece of work into a coherent strategy and gave the study invaluable insight into the approach and resources required.
— Leila Elbahy, Communications Manager, Life Study.

Within tight budgets we conducted audience research with mothers and fathers to be, including own language sessions for Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian families, to understand what factors and messages might encourage families to take part and what might prevent them from taking part.

Using this evidence we segmented audiences and identified how to focus communications in order to deliver recruitment numbers and diversity requirements.  The communications strategy was phased to take these audiences on a journey from awareness, to joining the study, to a long-term commitment to its success.  The resources, structure and budget required were costed out in detail with delivery plans.

*Since 1946 the UK has conducted a series of national birth cohort studies - recruiting large numbers of participants as babies and then studying their health and development over the course of their lives.  Insights from this research have informed Government advice and policy on a huge range of issues from smoking in pregnancy (yes, there was a time we didn’t know it was harmful), and when to start primary education.