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Research on Recruitment 2018

[Big Ideas Series] How do researchers address the industry-wide issue of accessing quality and representative sample?

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. Hugh Carlingwill be speaking at IIeX Europe (February 19-20 in Amsterdam). If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE IIeX EU. Click here to learn more.

What do researchers want from participants?

The new GRIT report showed that ‘accessing quality and representative sample’ is the single biggest challenge faced by researchers today. Declining participant quality is repeatedly raised in industry surveys, researcher discussion forums and at market research conferences so we commissioned Research on Recruitment 2018 to explore this critical issue in greater detail.

Many of the researchers in the study had experienced negative recruitment issues in the last twelve months. We heard about repeat respondents, unrepresentative participants, and even worse, people brazenly lying to get through screening. The researchers found these experiences professionally embarrassing, particularly when the truth was revealed in front of clients, such as:

  • The bald man in a shampoo discussion group
  • The participant who asked when they would be doing a personification exercise
  • The woman with a cushion under her jumper pretending to be pregnant

Researchers want better participants

Researchers want better participants than they’re currently receiving and revealed what’s most important to them. Ensuring that participants closely match the recruitment specifications is the most important factor in effective recruitment. 97% of researchers in the study also stated that high quality recruitment is vital for good qualitative research. Ultimately, if the recruitment is wrong the credibility and integrity of the research is compromised. Researchers said they would pay more for participants who:

  • Accurately fit their specifications
  • Are more reliable and motivated
  • Are less likely to be repeat respondents

Professional participants are a problem

Most researchers saw professional participants as a problem in qualitative research. More than half of the researchers surveyed have seen repeat respondents in different research projects in the last year. More than half also believe too many participants lie to get recruited and that some recruiters encourage participants to lie.

How to get high quality participants

Maya Middlemiss sets out a comprehensive guide to getting the best recruitment for your user testing and qualitative research in ‘The Participant Principle’. With chapters on briefing recruiters, the recruitment screener and issues in recruitment the book is an excellent resource for any researcher wanting successful recruitment.

How to design for maximum engagement

The GRBN’s Participant Engagement Initiative is a great industry endeavour to improve the user experience. Last year the group released ENGAGE: 101 tips to improve the participant experience which is an extensive set of best practice examples to help with engagement in research.

Tackling the problem at source

We’ve all experienced or heard horror stories of respondent recruitment failures. The research industry needs to find new ways to ensure we’re talking to authentic, representative consumers. It’s time to take recruitment into the social age – we can’t just keep doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen.

Talks I’m excited to see at IIeX Europe:

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