Qualitative market research studies would be impossible without study participants. They are the lifeblood of any study, and are vital to the market research industry. Study participants are screened and selected to meet the specific criteria of a study, and as market research methodologies become more varied, there are sometimes demands on participants’ time that go beyond participating in a focus group or in-depth interview.
Qualitative research consultants spend a lot of time creating screeners so that market research recruiting agencies can seek out participants who qualify. A focus group recruitment agency often keeps a database of available people who are willing to participate in market research. Such databases are useful when needing to populate a study quickly that doesn’t have very specific criteria. For example, a company may want to do a survey gauging brand awareness across the United States. The screener for such a study may require only an age bracket. When needing to fill general categories and quickly, up-to-date databases are useful and helpful. It isn’t uncommon to have databases filled with names and contact information of people who make a jobout of participating in market research studies. These ‘professionals’ are savvy and can be found in many nationwide recruitment agency databases. Again, because there are plenty of surveys and studies that require quick access to consumers, it’s great that there are a lot of people who are able to make good money by participating in studies. Because there are many market-research studies that have exacting requirements for who can and cannot participate, it can become problematic when ‘professional’ participants know how to answer questions to get past the screener and end up being selected to participate in a study that they don’t actually qualify for.
Deadlines can be derailed if the researcher has to disinvite certain study participants and seek out replacements. Not only does this take a lot of time, it also takes a lot of energy and money. This is why many nationwide qualitative research firms choose to hire market research recruiting firms. Managing study participants takes time and resources, and experienced researchers know that their time is better spent designing the overall study rather than search for and recruit participants. Because it isn’t uncommon for ‘professional’ study participants to foil the screener by answering questions in a certain way, some market researchers design their studies to have a required step for participants to upload a photo or video about the subject matter of the study. Depending on what gets uploaded and how questions are answered, the researcher may determine that the participant isn’t an ideal fit and may seek a replacement. This is never ideal for the market researcher, but if working closely with a recruitment agency, replacements can be quickly found so that the study can continue with minimal disruption.
Leave market research recruitment to the professionals. You’ll save a lot of money and headache by outsourcing recruitment to professional market research recruiting firms!