Using Virtual Social Networks for Case Finding in Clinical Studies: An Experiment from Adolescence, Brain, Cognition, and Diabetes Study

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Pourabbasi, Ata ; Farzami, Jalal ; Shirvani, Mahbubeh-Sadat Ebrahimnegad ; Shams, Amir Hossein ; Larijani, Bagher (2017)
  • Publisher: Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd
  • Journal: International Journal of Preventive Medicine, volume 8 (issn: 2008-7802, eissn: 2008-8213)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC5439290, doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_329_16
  • Subject: social network | Original Article | R | sampling | clinical studies | Case finding | Medicine | diabetes

Background: One of the main usages of social networks in clinical studies is facilitating the process of sampling and case finding for scientists. The main focus of this study is on comparing two different methods of sampling through phone calls and using social network, for study purposes. Methods: One of the researchers started calling 214 families of children with diabetes during 90 days. After this period, phone calls stopped, and the team started communicating with families through telegram, a virtual social network for 30 days. The number of children who participated in the study was evaluated. Results: Although the telegram method was 60 days shorter than the phone call method, researchers found that the number of participants from telegram (17.6%) did not have any significant differences compared with the ones being phone called (12.9%). Conclusions: Using social networks can be suggested as a beneficial method for local researchers who look for easier sampling methods, winning their samples' trust, following up with the procedure, and an easy-access database.
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