Recruiting quality participants

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Recruiting quality participants is important. You want participants who are as close to your intended user demographic as possible, and who are willing to put the time and thought into giving authentic responses.

Source participants who represent your users

If you have access to a pool of participants (like employees if you’re working on an internal product, or your customer mailing list) then these people are the best first choice. In fact, building up a loyal customer base that is willing to participate in user research is the best thing you can do to ensure quality data over time. Make use of various channels when inviting these people: email, website pop ups, social media, and so on.

You can also make use of reputable recruitment panels, which can be effective if you want trustworthy data with minimal effort. You can recruit participants from quite specific demographics, and be confident that the participants will take your study seriously (they are getting paid, after all). You can choose to do this within Chalkmark from your account using our in-app recruitment service.

Give them a reason to participate

The more people feel they personally get something from an activity, the more likely they’ll be to take it seriously. Here’s some insights into the psychology of study respondents that you’ll find useful (and that you can read more about on our blog):

  • Make it interesting to people
  • Offer them money or products
  • Encourage a sense of ‘I want to help’
  • Make them feel their contribution is important.

As Scott Smith wrote in his insightful piece on why people participate in studies, we can learn a lot from theories of human behavior.

How many participants should I have?

Aim for 50+ quality participants. Aiming for 50–100 completed first-click tests will give you reliable data that you can use to make informed decisions.

From what we’ve seen, the trends in participant responses should start to come clear with around 50 participants. The more participants you recruit from this point, the more confident you can be that the data is representative of your users.

Don’t fret if timing or budget means you can’t get 50+ completed first-click tests. If you can get between 30 and 50 participants, you’ll still see patterns that will lead you in the right direction and kick-start important conversations with stakeholders and designers. And fewer than 30? You’ll be surprised at how much you find out (plus data from a first-click test with 10 participants is way more useful than no first-click test at all).