You have your research design completed, you have all the legal issues cleared and your spreadsheets are set up for some fresh data. All you need now are people.
At this point, many research teams begin wondering how they can go out and find participants for their study. However, they may soon realize that the task of tracking down the right people may be more effort than they bargained for.
Do-It-Yourself research recruiting can often end up requiring far more effort and logistical wrangling than conducting the study itself. Professional research recruiting eliminates nearly all of these headaches while enabling your study to gather the most representative data possible given your target population.
To help research teams understand why DIY research participant recruitment can be far more trouble than it is worth, here are three reasons that many DIY-recruited studies can fail:
1. Forget Friends and Family
Networking through your immediate connections can seem like the quickest way to retrieve participants, but it is also one of the worst.
First, you tend to ignore your desired subject traits since turning down someone you know personally can be awkward. Second, you are needlessly constraining your sample population based on a few arbitrary factors. These two problems together can create poor, unrepresentative results no matter how sound the initial research design was.
2. Screen for Sycophants
Some subjects will only say what they think the study conductor wants to hear. Naturally, this tendency skews data.
Professional recruiters use a pre-screening test that can help determine objectivity. They look for a pattern of responses that is attempting to conform to a certain set of expectations, and they will weed out these less-than-honest participants. Screeners also ensure that prospective participants fall into your needed demographic.
Another trick a good screener survey performs is disguising the research intent so that responses are fresh and genuine on the actual day of the study.
3. Missing Persons
One of the most damaging events that can happen to a study is that participation drops off as the study length goes on. Researchers will need to ensure that every participant completes the entire length of the study in order to maintain accurate, reliable data.
Professional recruiters look for participants with the proper personality traits and prior experiences that indicate a committed participant, preventing this potential setback.
Even small teams looking for a trial run or limited-scale study can gain a lot from these professional research recruiting benefits. They can also try to utilize survey design best practices to leverage as much value as possible out of their study.