From the desk of Natanya Rubin
The base of a solid study design starts with a focused list of recruiting specifications. Here are some ideas to consider when coming up with the attributes that your respondents should have.
Expand Your Thinking
Consider the benefits of broadening the definition of your target consumer. For example, if you’re a chocolate bar company, rather than limiting your target to chocolate bar eaters, perhaps you could include those who eat other sweet treats. The benefits are twofold: first, you can optimize incidence, and allow more opportunities for respondents to qualify; and second, you open up the possibility of gaining a new/ different perspective on your research questions.
Need to Know vs. Nice to Know.
Shorter screeners are desirable for many reasons. They keep recruiting costs down and increase the likelihood that respondents will give accurate, focused answers to the questions you do ask. Make targeted decisions about the “must have” attributes that will qualify respondents, and leave “nice to know” attributes to be explored either in a homework assignment or during the research.
Make sure the age range of your respondents matches up with the required ages of their kids. For example, finding 25 year old moms with more than one kid over the age of 3 can be a needle in a haystack! Be realistic about income ranges based on your research location. Consider whether strict employment quotas are realistic for your target consumers. Carefully approach asking questions about behaviors that respondents might be inclined to answer untruthfully about, such as frequency of tooth brushing or water drinking.
Focus on Lifestyle
The differences between age groups can be stark in some product and service categories. Be sure you understand what you’re getting when you recruit a mix of younger streaming music listeners vs. older CD buyers, or younger ATM users vs. older bank teller users. It’s also important to understand the distinction between products that consumers own vs. products that they actually use, and for what purposes. Are those candles in the living room meant only for decoration, for their scent, or to create ambiance? It’s important to understand the needs of the study, and then ask the right questions!
A smart recruit starts with smart specs! Spending a bit of time thinking through each requirement will pay off in better research results.