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Prioritising Quality in Quantitative Research: 
A Different Approach

Prioritising Quality in Quantitative Research: A Different Approach

2  mins 2 mins
By MIS Group - 23/05/2024

Many of you might be thinking, « We all know the importance of quality when buying a sample – what's this about? »

Of course, quality is a crucial factor when purchasing a sample. But what we're suggesting is to think like qualitative researchers.

Incentives in Recruitment Services
When acquiring recruitment services from a field company, discussing higher incentives is rarely contested. Why? It's straightforward - in qualitative research, it's common knowledge that to attract your desired participants, you must offer them the right incentive.

Imagine trying to arrange a one-hour focus group with 10 respondents who have a household income (HHI) of over £100k/year and offering an incentive of £20. Challenging, right? Almost impossible.

However, the same incentive amount would likely attract individuals with an HHI of less than £20k/year quite easily. It's clear that the reward needs to align with the target audience. The fee you pay the recruiter is another issue and will vary depending on how easily the recruiter can reach that specific demographic.

Addressing the Obvious
You might be wondering, "Why is he stating the obvious?"

Although it seems clear in the example above, it doesn't appear as obvious in the quantitative/sample world.

The Challenge with Quantitative Research Incentives
Recently, our sales team noticed that we were losing all high HHI projects to competitors because our prices were too high. Upon investigating further, our country manager asked an important question: how could a 15-minute survey aimed at people with an HHI of over £80k/year could be sold at a cost per interview (CPI) of £1.50 and why wouldn't a buyer question the sample's credibility?

After deducting the supplier's cost from the CPI, you're left with, at most, £0.80 worth of incentive for the respondent. Regardless of how this is presented to respondents (whether upfront cash or points), people can do the math and figure out what's being offered for their time: £0.80 for 15 minutes (£3.20 per hour).

The Importance of Incentives in Quantitative Research
Why is the incentivisation of respondents and its calculation so crucial in qualitative research but not in quantitative research? Do we assume that because quantitative research is based on numbers, we can overlook the quality of the respondents?

How credible are the insights you're gathering at that price? And who are these high earners willing to participate in research at £3.20 per hour?

Asking these kinds of critical questions is vital, especially when considering hard-to-reach sample. By re-evaluating the importance of incentives and ensuring they match the value of the respondents' time, we can improve the quality and reliability of our quantitative research data.

See also our other articles

Discussing “Quality” in Qualitative Studies: What Makes a Good Participant?
Discussing “Quality” in Qualitative Studies: What Makes a Good Participant?

Associating the terms “participants” and “quality” in qualitative research might seem obvious, but this critically important aspect of recruitment is often taken for granted. To help ensure that quality in your recruitment is not overlooked, the following article aims to explore the key characteristics that define a “good” participant.

See more
3 mins