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This information is in the process of being updated, and it is not to be considered “complete”. If you have questions about the most appropriate and effective ways to recruit members of the JCU Community to participate in your research study, please contact the IRB Administrator, Carole Moran Krus.

Sending Mass Recruitment Emails at JCU

Sending recruitment emails to large numbers of addresses is a common method to build a large participant pool for a research study or online survey. John Carroll University maintains several listservs (electronic mailing lists) with the email addresses of everyone in the JCU community ( There are listservs for all-faculty, all-staff, all-students, and the entire JCU community. However, researchers must seek approval from a vice president to gain access to these University-maintained listservs. The vice presidents who can grant permission to use the JCU listservs are:

Executive Vice President/CFO   Dennis F. Hareza
VP of University Advancement  Doreen K. Riley
VP for University Mission & Identity  Edward J. Peck
Academic Vice President  James H. Krukones (Interim)
Vice President Student Affairs  Mark D. McCarthy

Individual departments sometimes maintain their own email lists. Researchers must get approval from the appropriate department chair or supervisor to access these types of lists.

If you would like to use one of the JCU email listservs to recruit potential participants into your research study, please follow these steps:

  1. Submit your protocol application to the IRB. If you are not sure if IRB approval is required, contact the IRB Administrator.
  2. In your application, specify what email list(s) you would like to use and explain why this is necessary. (Section 7.e. of the Application)
  3. Work with the IRB Office and the reviewers to complete any required revisions to your protocol.
  4. During the review process, the IRB Administrator will contact the appropriate authority to request listserv access for the investigator.
  5. Once the investigator has been granted both permission to use the listserv AND IRB approval, the IRB Administrator will contact Information Technology Services (ITS) to verify the approvals.
  6. The investigator is required to use the listserv ONLY for the purposes and in the methods outlined in the approved IRB protocol.

“Manual Email Lists”

Researchers at JCU sometimes create their own lists by manually adding addresses from their own contact lists, their classes, their team or club rosters, or from the JCU online directory. Authorization is not required to create or use this type of email list, but researchers should proceed with caution if they want to create large, broadcast email lists. The University policies that protect the official listservs are in place to protect the privacy of JCU Community members. “Survey fatigue” and overstuffed inboxes will result in poor levels of response to your recruitment if your email list casts too wide a net. Using personalized invitations to participate and a carefully directed recruitment list is often a more effective way to recruit study participants. Please see the IRB Administrator for more information about effective recruitment strategies. See also: Recruitment of Research Participants.

Recruiting Student-Athletes for Research

When investigators propose research protocols that involve JCU student-athletes, they must gain authorization from the JCU Athletic Department to recruit these students. During athletic seasons of competition, the Athletic Department and the coaching staff may prohibit student-athletes from being recruited for research studies. If you would like to conduct research that will focus on JCU student-athletes, please contact the JCU Athletic Director, Michelle Morgan,, (216) 397-1525, and the individual coaches, if applicable.

“Recruitment” refers to the overall process of attracting and selecting suitable candidates for a research project. Recruitment of subjects represents the beginning of the informed consent process and it can be one of the most challenging parts of research with human subjects. Recruitment can be conducted through email, newspapers, posters, social media, radio or television announcements, telephone scripts, or by soliciting volunteers in public spaces.

Researchers in the JCU Department of Psychology have access to the SONA system which allows them to easily recruit students from the JCU Psych Pool. See Using the Psych Pool.

The pressure to enroll subjects raises ethical challenges for investigators and research staff. All recruitment efforts must respect personal rights to privacy and confidentiality and be compliant with applicable regulations (FDA, OHRP, and HIPAA).

Recruitment Materials

When a project requires IRB review, ALL recruitment materials must be reviewed as part of the study. None of the recruitment material can be posted or distributed until it has been approved by the IRB. As part of the principle “Respect for Persons”, all recruitment materials should be clear, grammatically correct, and free of misspellings and other typographical errors.

Recruitment materials should include:
  • Clear statement that this is research
  • Name and contact information of the investigator(s) and their university affiliation and/or department
  • Title or description of the study
  • Description of the research purpose
  • Eligibility criteria or the reason for the invitation (“We are contacting you because you are a member of XYZ organization…”)
  • If the study is for adults only, include “18 years or older” in the recruitment. Give specific age groups, if applicable.
  • Time commitments required
  • Location of the research
  • Person to contact for further information
Do not include:
  • Coercive language
  • The words “new treatment,” “new medication,” or “new therapy” if the test or therapy is investigational
  • Amount of payment, dollar signs, or the words “free” in large or bold face type
  • Compensation should not be excessive relative to the nature of the project
  • Statements or implications assuring favorable outcome or other benefits beyond what is outlined in the consent document and protocol
  • Claims, either explicitly or implicitly, that the test article is known to be equivalent or superior to any other drug, biologic, or device
  • Exculpatory language

Social Media Posts: Please submit the proposed text of your recruitment post as it would appear online, including any links that would be included.