Recipe for the perfect qual panel

Step Four: Recruitment at Its Best 

So, you’ve assembled your perfect panel, what now? Now, it’s time to ensure that your panel not only reflects the diversity of the groups you’re studying but also guarantees the accuracy and clarity of the information they provide.

In this crucial step, we look at how to master accuracy in programming, employ dual-verification and authentication processes, track fraudulent panelists, and closely monitor participation to maintain the highest standards of research quality.

Mastering accuracy in programming 

When recruiting your dream team of potential research participants, a well-crafted screener is crucial; it can make or break your research project, and the process of creating one that satisfies all parties involved can be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. Gone are the days when screeners were administered via paper and pencil; technological advancements have taken their place. We now harness the power of survey software for screening, which brings efficiency and precision to the forefront.

However, the path to a flawless screener is not without its challenges. Without multiple layers of quality and accuracy checks during the programming process, there’s a lurking risk of errors that could lead to disastrous misrecruits.

We have implemented rigorous programming metrics to ensure your carefully crafted screener is executed flawlessly. Our process has an initial goal of achieving 92%+ accuracy; to which follows a quality check to achieve 98% + accuracy. All screeners are programmed within 24 hours, with 95% or more meeting this deadline.

Ensuring Rock-Solid Consistency in Responses

This is another cornerstone of a recruitment process. Screening recruits both digitally and verbally is important for maximum accuracy. We begin by filtering candidates who meet essential criteria such as gender, age, education, income levels, vehicle or homeownership status. Our proprietary panel software tracks over a hundred data points so that we can precisely target the audience, therefore reducing panel fatigue. 

Once we have a broad list of potential candidates, we email them a pre-screener with core qualifying questions. This helps us narrow down the initial list to a more manageable size. Our recruiting team then contacts those who meet the pre-screening criteria by phone. They ask the same core questions a second time to confirm consistency in responses.

Tracking Fraudulent Panelists 

The success of a research project depends on many variables, but respondent quality is the most important one. Recruit validation isn’t simply about verifying screening criteria and quotas; recruiters must also confirm the recruit is providing honest responses. 

It’s becoming increasingly common for fraudulent panelists to deceive researchers by submitting inaccurate information. It’s important to fight back by enabling safeguards to flag and ban dishonest panelists from future research. Including “red herring” questions in screeners to conceal correct responses. Prior to initiating the screening process, we collaborate closely with our clients to identify and address any potentially biased or leading screening questions. This collaborative effort is key in mitigating the risk of fraudulent panelists. Our recruiters and project managers carefully review screening responses to identify any potential warning signs, such as panelists who frequently select all options at the highest frequency. For instance, it’s highly unlikely that someone ordered 97 sandwiches from a restaurant last week. (To give you an idea, this is a real example of an absurd response that we came across a few years ago!)

Dealing with professional respondents

In addition to excluding fraudulent panelists, there’s a danger you’ll run into a “professional respondent”, those who provide honest responses but have participated in research too many times. Ideally, consumer panelists should participate in 1-2 research studies in a calendar year and, at most, 10-12 research studies ever.  If panelists are recycled too frequently, their responses may lose the fresh perspective needed; in other words, they may subconsciously or inadvertently become familiar with the process of a research interview and may begin to answer questions differently based on their research experience. Participation is limited to conform to industry-standard parameters, and previous research is monitored. Additionally, we have implemented a recruiting metric that aims to ensure at least 30% of first-time respondents.

Crafting effective screeners, ensuring response consistency, and safeguarding against fraudulent panelists are key steps to build a high-quality research panel. In your research journey, remember that quality remains the bedrock of impactful insights.