Every researcher can agree that recruitment is a critical part of the research process. When done incorrectly, valuable time and resources get wasted on recruiting participants who do not fit your target market. Further, conducting research on the wrong participants can result in an inaccurate understanding of your real target market. So, how do we recruit the right participants? Many parts of the recruitment process, such as initial screening, applicant sorting, and selection, warrant special attention to ensure that your participants are perfect for your project. In this post, we focus on initial screening via screener questions.

Sort the Wheat from the Chaff

With screener questions, you can quickly sort through project applicants and find the participants who will best represent your target market. How strict you are about selecting participants will likely depend on how much time you can spend on recruiting, but it’s important to set up basic screeners to cover essential ground. 

Let’s say you are conducting market research on a new type of dog food. Needless to say, your participants should have dogs. Therefore, you need to set up simple screeners that identify applicants who have dogs. For example: 

Which type(s) of pets do you have? Select all that apply.

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • None of the above
Screener question set up in the methinks dashboard.

Of course, participants who don’t select “Dogs” will not be suitable for the research project. But what about those who only have dogs versus those who have dogs and other pets?

Consider recruiting both! Regardless of whether other pets are present, all dog owners must buy dog food. Therefore, it’s a good idea to recruit a mixture of participants who only have dogs and those who have dogs and other pets, as these two segments may have different attitudes toward the new dog food.

Pro-tip: In methinks, you can add automated acceptors and rejectors to your screener questions. In this example, you may want to add an automated acceptor to “Dogs” and an automated rejector to “None of the above”. Automated acceptors and rejectors = less time reviewing applicant profiles that do not match your target market.

In the methinks dashboard, a total of 16 question types are supported, including multiple choice, Likert scale, smiley, ranking, and video recording.

Screeners need not only address the eligibility of the applicant; psychographic, behavioral, industry-specific, and product-specific traits can also be assessed. For instance, if our dog food study consists of a video interview, it’s important for participants to be clear, concise, and articulate. To establish that a participant has all of these characteristics before sending out an interview invitation, you simply need to create a screener question that needs to be answered through video or audio recording.  

The more screeners you create for your research project, the more precision you’ll have during the recruitment process. 

What if I want to invite my own users?

Even then, it’s important to create screeners.

With methinks, you can recruit from our pool of participants or invite your own. Regardless of where your recruits come from, screeners allow you to narrow down your potential participants. Even within your own pool of participants, some may fit your project better than others.

Screeners allow you to narrow down potential research project participants.

Ready to create screeners?

From quick surveys to longitudinal studies, most research projects can take advantage of screener questions. Adding this necessary step to your recruitment process will shorten your project timeline while helping you obtain valuable insights from those who matter the most: your customers. 

Set up a free research project now, and see how easy it is to create different types of screener questions using the methinks dashboard.

Alyne Daus

Aly is a marketer who works as the Digital Content Producer at methinks, where Aly leverages her diverse marketing experience to create and produce content that makes a difference on how customers interact with our product. 

Candise Larry

Candise is a UX researcher who has experience working for the National Science Foundation, MIT, Harvard University, and veteran game developers! Her previous work includes research on augmented reality (AR) in technology education, video game UX research, and quantitative analyses in school settings. Candise studied neuroscience and statistics at Harvard university, secondary mathematics education at Johns Hopkins University, and biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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