How to recruit articulate research respondents

Editor’s note: Kara Kohr is field team leader at Insights in Marketing, a Wilmette, Ill., research firm. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title “How to recruit for articulate research respondents.”

174320881One of the most critical components of the recruiting process for qualitative (both online and in-person) research is the articulation screen. Consumers who meet client-specified screening criteria for category or brand usage are not worth recruiting if they are not able to effectively articulate their thoughts in a qualitative research environment.

Industry standard requires the use of an articulation question in most recruiting questionnaires. However, standard articulation questions tend to be uninspired, and uninspired questions will draw uninspired responses from consumers. Standard articulation questions may effectively weed out the consumers who are not easily understood or have a heavy, distracting accent. But they will not consistently gauge a consumer’s willingness and ability to articulate why one concept speaks to them over another or why one tagline is less meaningful and compelling than another. For this, a more substantive articulation screen is required.

To engage consumers on the phone and better assess how articulate respondents will be, our firm incorporates articulation questions that tend to be a bit controversial and that require consumers to give an opinionated response. We call these questions Opinionation questions. These questions are typically based on current or recent events so the average consumer will have knowledge of the topic. These questions give us a good idea of the following:

• how comfortable consumers are sharing strong opinions with strangers; and

• how quickly and effectively consumers can gather their thoughts and provide reasoning for their responses.

Additionally, we handpick our Opinionation questions for each screener depending on the target we are recruiting. We have specific, pointed questions that can be used for moms, kids, Gen X/Y, athletes, men, etc. This ensures that our target is even more likely to have an opinionated response to the question we are asking.

Some of our clients are looking for more than just articulate respondents. These studies often require additional or more targeted articulation screens. What are some of the most common additional (qualitative) screens that our clients are looking for? Below is a short list, along with recommended approaches on how to meet these additional recruiting needs:

Creative respondents. Some of our clients require consumers who are more creative and able to think more conceptually. In this case, we have a number of creativity screens we employ but we will also include an additional articulation question that requires consumers to come up with multiple creative responses in a short amount of time. Consumers who are unable to do so will not be asked to participate in the research.

Enthusiastic and engaged respondents. Often clients seek respondents who are especially engaged in or enthusiastic about a particular category. In those cases, we will again include an additional articulation question to gauge enthusiasm on a specific topic. A great example of this is some recent research among parents on party planning. One of our articulation questions required that they describe the last two theme parties they threw for their children/family. Only those consumers who exuded passion and pride as they talked about the details of their parties were invited to participate.

Want to recruit the best consumers for your next study? Make sure you think strategically about each question in the screening process to recruit the best respondents and get the most out of your research.

This entry was posted in Concept Research, Focus Groups, Moderating, Qualitative Research. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to recruit articulate research respondents

  1. Annie Pettit says:

    The articulation concept seems to me to be similar to the probability issue with surveys. By not using probability samples, we worry whether our results will be generalizable to a larger population. And, by using an articulation screener, the same worry arises as we are only speaking with people who can articulate their thoughts. Interesting though… since the vast majority of human reasoning is unconscious and unknown, I wonder what people are articulating. :)

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