DOI: 10.1111/jan.15981 ISSN: 0309-2402

A videoconferencing verification method for enrollment of breastfeeding dyads to an online prospective mixed methods study during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Natsuko K. Wood, Ross J. Bindler
  • General Nursing



To apply videoconferencing as a new verification method prior to enrollment for an online survey‐based study.


A prospective‐observational, mixed methods, three group, repeated measures study involved recruiting a population‐based sample of breastfeeding mothers and infants (N = 81). Twenty‐seven mothers were recruited for each group: mothers returning to work outside of the home, mothers returning to work from home and mothers staying home with their infants full‐time.


Data were collected at four time points, infant age 4, 12, 20 and 24 weeks, via online survey. Participating mothers received a $10 gift card for completing each survey. Social media, word of mouth and brochures promoted United States‐based recruitment nationwide. A publicly available direct link to the survey was initially provided to interested mothers. After the suspicion of online fraud, videoconferencing was instituted for self‐referrals and phone calls for professional referrals.


The survey was invaded by response fraud 3 weeks after the initial survey deployment. Out of 109 respondents who visited the survey site during that timeframe, only eight mothers (10%) were eligible (22 June 2022 to 14 July 2022). After recruitment modification, 313 individuals emailed the study team with 65 self‐referred mothers (80%) enrolled in the study via videoconferencing while eight mothers (10%) had a professional referral and enrolled via phone call (23 August 2022 to 30 March 2023).


Providing a direct survey link, even with CAPTCHA‐protection, evoked fraudulent responses. Videoconferencing is an emerging verification method that can be readily applied to the enrollment of breastfeeding dyads for an online study.


The emergence of fraudulent respondents and internet bots threatens data quality. This study addressed the strategy of videoconferencing as a new verification method for recruitment and enrollment of breastfeeding dyads. This knowledge can be applied by researchers to secure sample validity and data integrity.

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