Qualitative Research: It’s All About the Recruit

From the desk of Natanya Rubin, Project Manager

Want great learning? It all starts with great respondents.

Experienced qualitative researchers know that it’s all about the recruit. The moderator could be amazing, the facility could have gourmet catering and breathtaking cityscapes, but in the end, the success of any qualitative research project depends on identifying and recruiting engaged, talkative (yet not overbearing) respondents who fit the specified criteria. How do we do this, you may ask? Well, after 25+ years in the biz, we have several tricks up our sleeve. Below, a short primer on how to find qualified participants.

1) Slow Down, Don’t Move too Fast

Take your time pinpointing the recruitment criteria. Every researcher has been in sessions where the participants were correctly recruited, but the recruitment criteria were just plain wrong. Does the research call for category users? Defectors? Specialized businesspeople? Who is the voice of your target market? Category knowledge is key here too – for example we screen out “flippers” from home improvement research and people with severe food allergies from food and beverage work.

2) Behind the Screen

Then it’s on to writing the screener. A screener should be concise, engaging, and should lead the recruiter through the critical points in a logical manner. The questions should be designed to encourage candor in the potential respondent. It should be written in a way that the recruitment criteria are unclear to the respondent, so that they can’t game the system in order to qualify. The screener should also test the respondent for articulation, so that not only is the interview with the right person, but it is also with a person who can share insights expressively.

3) Recruiting the Recruiters

The search for exceptional respondents can only take place with the help of exceptional recruiters. The project directors at Doyle Research develop long-term working relationships with recruiting partners who have proven themselves to be smart, honest, and committed to the goal of delivering the very best respondents on the day of the interview.

At DRA, we know that recruiting quality respondents leads to richer insights. By refining the recruitment criteria, crafting a great screener, and developing relationships with the best recruiters in the business, we deliver respondents whose feedback generates great learning!