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Table 6 Considerations for recruitment and consent in the Arabian Gulf

From: Procedures of recruiting, obtaining informed consent, and compensating research participants in Qatar: findings from a qualitative investigation

Issue Context Recommendation
Hesitation to participate during recruitment Individuals may have multiple concerns about participation. -Assure individuals that sharing one’s name is not necessary, and avoid collecting such information unless critical to the study.
   -Advise subjects the researchers will not disclose any personal information the participant is not comfortable disclosing.
   -Refrain from audio and video recordings if not essential, and consider offer of hand written field notes only.
   -Reassure individuals that participating will not impact their care.
Informed Consent Some non-Western communities reserve signing of documents for formal events. -Be flexible relative to family involvement.
   -Explain the consent process to participants but don’t overwhelm participants with too much information.
   -Allow for verbal consent or waiver of written informed consent.
   -Consider language and literacy barriers; be prepared with bilingual documents and interviewers.
Circumstances of where and when to interview Cultural rules may dictate gender separation. -Consider corner of waiting area with option for a private room as safe place where interviews can occur between men and women in a publicly visible place.
   -Allow participants to stay in the waiting room to alleviate their fears of losing their turn.
   -Allow participants to finish interviews after their appointment if needed.
   -Trust local staff to make the decision to choose location.
Involvement of family members as “incidental research participants” In non-Western communities, decision-making processes tend to be more collective than individualistic. -Allow individuals to seek input from family members, and this could range from permission to participate, i.e., participant is subordinate to the person they discuss it with, otherwise it may be a negation of agreement or assent of a valued family member’s input.
   -Consider flexibility regarding boundaries around participation.
Member checking Individuals may not be familiar with research studies. Some may be unable to provide their contact information. -Invite participants to learn more about the results of the study.
   -Provide assurances of confidentiality.
Compensation Offer of compensation could be offensive or unfamiliar. -Consider discussion of compensation after interview is completed.
Vulnerability Individuals may have vulnerability fears due to their sociocultural and residency status. -Reassure participants that confidentiality of participation will be protected.
   -Emphasize safety of disclosing information.