Gathering the Right Respondents for Qualitative Research

Dani Garan
Aug 05, 2019

researcher taking notes on gathering market research respondentsAre you trying to understand why users of your products or services are not very keen on giving substantial feedback, much less any feedback at all? How can you determine if your most recent product launch was successful? How come your website isn’t getting enough traction as you would like it to have?

With qualitative research, you can shed light on these questions: you can better understand the behaviors and motivations behind the decision making of present and potential customers especially when it comes to product development, either for an existing product undergoing incremental changes or a new one being introduced to the market.  In order to begin the research project, it is important to keep in mind that the effective selection of respondents in a timely manner is crucial to the success of the project.

Things to Remember Before You Start Your Recruitment Process:

  • Start early

As soon as you get a solid study to work on, start working on the recruitment process right away. A thorough understanding of the study’s objectives is necessary to recognize the type of respondents you’re going to be looking for. Ask yourself how many and which type of participants should you talk to for you to yield the right collection of insights. Start with basic specifications like job titles, organizations, geographical location, etc.

  • Be more specific

Narrow your list down by considering additional factors such as age, gender, and experience based on what an ideal respondent for your study would be like.  will all vary depending on the nature of your research; It’s important that respondents have relevant experience to be able to actively participate in interviews or focus group discussions. Also try to be as inclusive as possible. Be flexible in terms of these factors because you wouldn’t want to only focus on the subject experts. Allow a little wiggle room for creativity, competitive comparisons, and candid insights from respondents.

  • Create an online community

You can also create online community bulletin boards where you can put up interactive activities such as polls, sort & rank, grids, etc. so you can further check which of these respondents to reach out to for in-depth interviews or focus group discussions. You can even come up with a rewards system as incentives for your respondents upon completion of activities assigned to them as motivation.

Knowing all this is significant, but the question remains: how do qualitative researchers locate potential respondents and what approaches might be used to gather respondents?

These are the most common approaches to gathering respondents:

  • Personal and professional connections

Start with the people you are familiar with; family and friends. Think of a friend who either has used the product, experienced the service, or has utilized a similar product. You can also reach out to professionals with expertise on the topic you are researching about. Say for example your study is about examining the effects of social media in the buying perspective of individuals, you may want to reach out to social media specialists or advertising managers to get valuable insight on the topic. You can even ask employees not working on that product or service on the same organization for their input.

  • Through social media channels

Maximize the use of social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or blogs, etc. You can post on any of these platforms about your research study and encourage people who feel like they can contribute something to reach out. You can even look for closed groups that stimulate healthy discussions united by a common subject or topic through Facebook.

  • Referrals

Getting help from existing respondents with recruiting is also an option. It is likely that they know other people with the same background or in the same industry and hopefully be able to refer a person or two. Ask your friends or colleagues if they can recommend anyone that fits the description you are looking for.

  • Face-to-face interactions

This type of participant gathering requires you to physically interact with potential respondents. It involves knocking on front doors, walking along the streets, maybe even asking random people to undergo a quick product testing to gain instant feedback or waiting out on places where you can interact with its customers on the spot and convert them as respondents too.

  • Recruitment services

If you think you should be exerting more effort and focusing on other aspects of your research study or if you don’t have the time to look for participants yourself, you can always seek help from market research respondent recruitment services. You might want to look for a service that has a massive pool of respondents spanning on different industries and categories that can cater to just about any project there is.

These are just a few reminders and approaches that may help you move your research study forward. It is still up to you which among these you will utilize the most.

Select the Right People for Your Qualitative Research 

Civicom® Marketing Research Services has the resources to provide you with the most suitable respondents for your research study - we can recruit market research respondents from different sectors including financial, medical, education, and more.


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