Participants, lets discuss “Quality”?| Alexandra - 24/03/2020
Participants, lets discuss “Quality”?
It may seem trivial to associate the words “participants” and “quality” when it comes to qualitative studies, but these are determinant for a project’s success. This article’s aim is to discuss the key characteristics of a “good” participant.
The right profile...
From the start of the project, it's about determining « Who »: who is the participant we look forward to interviewing? The more characteristics and accurate criteria drafted for the profile, the easier it becomes for the recruiter to assess the relevance of recruiting a given profile, and equally to suggest timing and an adequate recruitment methodology, in short, a relevant quote.
The two crucial elements:
- The common criteria: Universal criteria common to every recruited group or community and requiring a fair distribution (example: age, socio-economic position, male/female...).
- The specific criteria: this is the core of the study. It refers to criteria that differ from one group to another. The company commissioning must provide all the needed criteria to enable the recruiter to find the most suitable target (example: Group 1, consumers of a chocolate croissant at breakfast, Group 2, consumers of a chocolate croissant at lunch, Group 3, consumers of croissants...)
However, there may be a considerable gap between the profiles “expected” and the reality. On this point, clients and recruiters alike must stay vigilant. There are several ways to avoid disappointment, such as knowing the incidence rate or looking into the geographic area and its specifics. The reality in field must not be apprehended as a “problem” but more as an insight itself.
The right field monitoring
“Monitoring” throughout the recruitment process is crucial and even more so after the research has taken place, to make sure field was successful and clients satisfied. “Monitoring” involves the following:
- « Monitor » the recruitments already carried out by the client (previous projects). It will help avoid sending respondents who have already taken part in other groups or what we like to call the research “junkies” who we know can have a negative impact on the research. The research “junkies” are usually what researchers fear the most… but we’ll cover this topic in another article.
- Finally, closely « monitoring » the participants, keeping in touch with them once their profile has been confirmed: be as clear as possible with them, ensure the right information is received, there needs to be a trust environment. It may seem simple and benign, but these best practices are too often left out and can have a negative impact on the research (participants don’t show up, are not committed or do not show any interest etc.)
And finally, the right attitude...
It is the recruiter’s responsibility to make sure the participants they recruit have the right attitude for the topic at hand, are committed and attentive, exhibit creativity and curiosity, and of course be motivated by the issues addressed. These elements, sometimes difficult to define, must be considered. With that being said, constructive feedback from the moderator or from the coordinator is always greatly appreciated in order to maintain the highest standards project after project ????.
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