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How to Recruit Real and Reliable Survey Respondents

  • March 17, 2023
survey participants discussion

As technology becomes more advanced, it’s easier for bots and unqualified participants to make their way into consumer insights studies, leaving researchers with unusable data and forcing them to constantly find additional participants to reach their sample goals. The good news is that technology is also advancing on the researchers’ end, making validating recruiting much easier than before. 

Traditional screening questionnaires are primarily used to narrow the pool of possible participants for a study. However, they leave many opportunities for failure. Questionnaires are easy for bots to complete, allowing fake participants to enter your study. They also don’t offer much insight as to whether recruited participants will complete the study thoroughly and authentically.  

Adding a qualitative video or photo question to screening questionnaires can help alleviate some of the traditional recruiting shortcomings. By asking participants to record a video telling the researchers about themselves or asking them to take a live photo of a certain product, researchers can make sure that: 

  • Participants are human and not bots 
  • Participants use and/or have necessary products for the study 
  • Participants passing the screener are willing to give quality and authentic answers during the study. 

While combining quantitative and qualitative methodologies for screening can help with recruitment validation, it can also be valuable to check the quality of participants using additional approaches. 

One good option is geo-tracking, a tool used to see where participants are completing activities in a study. Ensuring that participants are located where they claim to prevent researchers from collecting data outside their desired region of study. For example, if a participant says they are located in the United States, but is then completing activities from a different country, researchers can see that this participant may not be completing these activities authentically. This allows researchers to then find a new participant that meets the correct regional criteria.  

Ensuring Geographical Accuracy 

Narrated videos can also be helpful after the screening process to assess if participants are going to complete a study thoroughly and authentically. Much like using these in the screening process, this helps researchers to see if participants are giving quality responses. A narrated video provides insight into the participant’s potential and allows for respondent substitution if necessary. This can be especially important for smaller, targeted qualitative studies that require descriptive responses, creativity and/or critical thinking from participants. 

Confirming Authenticity Via Videos 

Narrated videos as part of screening can also ensure participants are qualified category or brand users. Asking potential participants to prove that they actually have and/or use what is being screened for, rather than just checking a box that they do, validates that they fit the target sample, which will provide more relevant insights in the end.  

Research studies play a crucial role in your efforts to create great consumer products and experiences, so you should make every effort to ensure participants meet the criteria. Fortunately, you can take measures like these to run authentic studies.  

To learn more about how QualSights can help you gather insights you can rely on with confidence, schedule a personalized demo here. 

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