A toolkit for increasing the participation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities in Health and Social Care Research.

Role: Co-researcher

Funded by the East midlands Academic Health Sciences Network and the East Midlands Clinical Research Network, this project began in November 2015 and was completed by November 2018. It recently received further funding from the National Institute for Health Research for continued development into an online training tool.


It is recognised that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations are generally underrepresented in health and social care research. The key objective of this work was to develop an evidence based, practical toolkit to help researchers maximise recruitment of BAME groups in research.


The development of the toolkit was an iterative process overseen by an expert steering group. Key steps included a detailed literature review, feedback from focus groups (including researchers and BAME community members) and further workshops and communication with participants to review the draft and final versions. 


Poor recruitment of BAME populations in research is due to complex reasons, these include factors such as inadequate attention to recruitment strategies and planning, poor engagement with communities and individuals due to issues such as cultural competency of researchers, historical poor experience of participating in research, and lack of links with community networks.  Other factors include language issues, relevant expertise in research team and a lack of adequate resources that might be required in recruitment of BAME populations.


A toolkit was developed with key sections providing guidance on planning research (‘considering the communities which the research needs to involve’), ensuring adequate engagement of communities and individuals (‘undertaking effective patient and public involvement in research’, ‘providing effective feedback to research participants’), together with sections suggesting how the research team can address training needs and adopt best practice (‘ensuring cultural competency’ and ‘conducting effective recruitment in BAME communities’). Researchers highlighted the issue of funding and how best to address BAME recruitment in grant applications, so a section on’ preparing a grant application’ was included.

The final toolkit document is practical, and includes examples of best practice and ‘top tips’ for researchers.  It was well received by participants.

You can download a copy of the toolkit from: https://ethnichealthresearch.org.uk/resources/increasing-diversity-in-research/

In light of the Covid-19 crisis, the project has since received funding from the National Institute for Health Research for the development of an online training module for researchers [coming soon]. Karan’s contribution is specifically focused on ‘how to ensure cultural competence in research.’

Click here for further information, tips and advice from Karan: