A properly planned recruitment strategy is instrumental to research success. This paper provides an overview of the recruitment process for your research study. The authors present a five-stage model incorporating the following steps: defining your sampling approach, identifying and accessing participants, screening participants, obtaining informed consent and enrolling patients onto your study. Informed consent is discussed as a key aspect of ethical rigour in this process. The five key steps presented in this paper will help you to design, develop and implement a recruitment strategy to optimise success in your research study.