Participant Profiles are critical to Market Researchers but often times, their importance gets buried by objectives. In Market Research, Respondents are the individuals being recruited for the study and Profiles are their answers to the questions from the screener tool.
Participant Profiles are used by the Project or Field Manager to verify that the recruited participants fit the segment that is intended to be studied. With a document that has a tremendous impact on research, it’s imperative that they are done right. Here are some notes Observation Baltimore’s Project Manager, Nina Ross, has to create the effective set of Profiles for our partners….
At Observation Baltimore, we make it clear to all respondents that we do not share any of their contact information at any point during research without their written permission. To stay true to our promise and comply with market research ethics, we remove all PII (Personal Identifiable Information) such as Respondent location, employer, contact information and full names when sending Respondent Profiles.
Profiles can act as a summary of Respondents that Researchers can use to get an understanding of who they are speaking to during the Interview or Focus Group. To keep Profiles concise, questions that disqualify potential respondents should be removed (participants cannot be in the study if they disqualified!) and utilize shorthand writing to keep from overcrowding the document. Always be sure to adapt with your client, removing any answers to questions that are no longer deemed necessary.
Send Profiles in a Timely Manner
As previously mentioned, Participant Profiles are typically viewed by multiple organizations and serve as an update to Researchers on the recruitment of the study. To best utilize your client’s time, we recommend sending Participant Profiles at the start of your day so resources can be allocated accordingly. As the project gets closer to the research dates, Profile updates should be sent more frequently.
Participant Profiles should be clear and digestible. Research efforts are often spread across several territories or “markets” and Researchers are often overseeing recruitment in all territories at the same time.
To prevent unwanted confusion, Observation Baltimore encourages the use of branding or including your firm’s logo on the Profiles to differentiate your documents. To further ease the burden of sifting through data, Observation Baltimore highlights each newly added Respondent so a client can quickly identify the new changes.
Some screeners have opened ended questions known as “Articulation Questions” that are used to verify that the Respondent is able to think on their feet. While not every organization asks for these to be included on the profiles, Participants’ responses to these questions should always be recorded verbatim in case the Researcher wants to revisit their answer.
Participant profiles are a key part of the research process and should be handled with care. As with all shared documents, be sure to partner alongside your clients to cater your processes to your client’s preferences and always double check your work to guarantee successful research!