Citation: Robards FJ, Kang M, Sanci L, Steinbeck K, Hawke C, Luscombe G, Davies C, Skinner SR & Usherwood T, Recruitment and engagement of marginalized young people in Methods Research: Exploring Health System Access, Engagement, and Navigation, SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health, 2020



Marginalized young people are often considered to be a “hard-to-reach” population where their recruitment and engagement in mixed methods research can be challenging. This case study explores the methodological considerations and challenges of engaging marginalized young people in research, reflecting on the approaches taken and lessons learned. This case study describes the methods used in Access 3, a multi-study research project with young people aged 12 to 24 years in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The project explored health system access, engagement, and navigation and was funded by the NSW government to inform policy. Access 3 focused on young people who were from one or more of five marginalized groups: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; living in rural/remote areas; homeless; refugee; and/or gender- and/or sexuality-diverse. We describe the recruitment and engagement of marginalized young people from two studies:
Study 1, an online and offline cross-sectional survey of young people;
Study 2, a qualitative longitudinal study of a subsample of marginalized young people, recruited via Study 1.
Youth consultants provided valuable guidance about the study design and engagement of marginalized young people. In Study 1, both online and offline strategies were employed to achieve the aim of oversampling marginalized young people. Strategies to engage young people in Study 2 included making it easy to participate, respecting participant views, and with both personal and broader purposes. Principles of social inclusion and a rights-based approach guided the authentic engagement of marginalized groups.

About The Authors


Dr Fiona Robards has been involved in research, policy, management and clinical work for over 25 yea...

  Associate Professor  

Melissa Kang is an Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Technology Sydney, and ...


Lena Sanci is Head, Department of General Practice, Director of Teaching and Learning, Chair of the ...


Kate Steinbeck is an endocrinologist and adolescent physician, and Professor and Medical Foundation ...


Rachel Skinner is Clinical Stream Medical Director - Priority Populations and Senior Staff Specialis...