Market Research Participants: What They Are + Steps

Finding the right Market Research Participants for your research studies can be challenging. That’s why at QuestionPro, we want to ensure you have all the resources needed to find just the right sample for you. 

First, let’s understand what a Market Research Participant is…

What are Market Research Participants?

A Market Research Participant can take up many names, such as a human subject, survey participant, control, and/or survey respondent, among many others.

Human subject research is a type of academic study in which researchers examine and collect data on humans or participants. To do this, they must first get permission from the people they’re studying. It is important to remember that a research participant joins the study in a voluntary form and has given their consent to be part of the study, whether they seek compensation or not. Not to mention how vital it is they have total transparency of what’s expected of them to ensure the rightful collection of data as well as how they will be protected in terms of data privacy. 

Research participants may be children or adults; it depends on the study’s type. For example, children may not be able to give informed consent for certain types of research involving drugs or medical procedures; therefore, parents or guardians must grant consent for them instead.

Now that we understand what a Market Research Participant is let’s deepen the conversation on ensuring their rights are being protected and how researchers have the legal obligation to do so

In accordance with modern norms of research ethics and with the Declaration of Helsinki, researchers who conduct human subject research should afford certain rights to research participants. Research participants should expect the following:

  • The right to be the target of beneficence is to have the researcher’s desire to benefit them as a participant in their research. The researcher should ensure that they do not harm participants in any way during the course of their work.
  • The right to experience research justice is that researchers will treat participants relatively during their work with them as well as during any subsequent communication between them. This includes being given adequate information about the nature of the study and how it will be conducted, as well as being informed about what results will be shared with whom after its completion.
  • The right to get respect for individuals—that is, that research subjects will be treated with respect and dignity by researchers throughout all phases of their studies. This includes maintaining confidentiality at all times and respecting each participant’s rights over his or her own body (e.g., collecting samples only when necessary).
  • The right to privacy for research participants is that no one other than approved researchers has access to information about individual participants without consent from those individuals themselves (or their guardians). 

I found my sample; what do I do now? 

While finding your participants may feel like a win, it is essential to remember that we are only halfway through the process, so let’s go over some of the key aspects to ensure your market research study is successful.

  • Participant Engagement 

Participants’ engagement is a significant obstacle researchers face when conducting market research. It refers to the participant’s presence and focus when answering a survey, interview, or other research questions. Respondents must provide timely and accurate answers to collect quality data.

When engagement is low, it is an indicator of respondents not taking the study seriously. A few red flags of low respondent engagement to look out for are the time taken to complete the research and the quality of responses. Time taken could signify that a participant is not engaged with their task or simply has another task they need to finish before continuing with the research. In this case, it’s important to note if there are any signs of low engagement throughout the research so you can better understand what caused it and how to prevent it from happening again in future studies!

If the quality of responses seems low across most questions, then it could be due to poor questionnaire design or poor question-wording choices on your part as a researcher as well as how you presented them during testing phases before the launch date; however, if there were only one or two questions where quality was low despite being written well and presented

  • Get your incentives right 

As market researchers, we must compensate our participants for their time and effort. While it’s essential to consider the financial incentives of your survey, it’s also important to remember that money isn’t always the only motivator. In fact, many people participate in surveys out of altruism: they want to help the brands they love or make a difference by contributing to social, medical, or educational research.

That’s why it’s important to listen carefully when recruiting participants—their motivations may not be what you expect! Suppose you’re looking for someone who would like to participate in an online focus group about technology to improve their travel experience, but your sample tells you they’d rather just get paid for their time. In that case, you may need to rethink how much compensation is appropriate.

Where do I find market research participants?

There are many ways to recruit participants. Some may require more resources than others, but whether you choose the easy or the hard way, let’s remember it all depends on the type of research you are going for. Let’s talk about the common ways to recruit participants:

  • Crowdsourcing:

Asking for participation, opinions, and surveys from your followers via Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms can serve as basic market research. You could also partner with influencers or bloggers to ask them to post links and direct followers to offer feedback or participate in trials for you.

However, there are limitations, such as the quality of your data depending on the survey design. A poorly designed survey won’t help and could hurt. Additionally, social media can open your survey up to fraudulent responses from bots and present a lack of formality when presenting the results of your research 

  • Using your email subscribers to your advantage:

One easy way to recruit participants is through your existing email subscribers poll. Although quick, this method has some important aspects to consider. One is that when receiving feedback from your customers or past participants, you may find yourself with a great deal of data but with no plan for how to use it.

The first step is to know what kind of survey you need. Do you want to get customer feedback on a new service or product? Are you looking for more specific information about the company’s current activities? Do you need a basic overview of customer demographics?

The next step is to choose the best method for collecting the data. Surveys can be sent directly to subscribers or invited in person for a more comprehensive study.

Understanding the importance of survey design to gather valuable, accurate data is imperative. At QuestionPro, we ensure our survey templates are eye-friendly and 100% customizable, so your branding never goes unnoticed. We know that poorly-designed surveys, most times than not, produce inaccurate data that can do more harm than good. 

Be sure you have a process in place for insights management, so data doesn’t go without analysis and a plan to translate those insights into smart business decisions. 

  • Panel Participant Software

In recruitment research, there are two main types of samples: random and non-random.  Random samples are the most accurate kind of sample because they’re selected in a way that’s free from bias, while non-random samples are more likely to be biased. Panel participant software is the most convenient way to recruit non-random samples.

The advantage of using panel participant software is that it gives you access to a large sample size, making it easy for you to reach out and find people who fit your criteria.  You can use this method repeatedly, so long as you keep your data up-to-date and use new participants every time.  By working with panel participant software, you’ll be able to trust the recruitment process to a large sample that can quickly adapt to all your research needs. 

Try Audience by QuestionPro! 

You won’t have to worry about narrowing down your list of potential leads by asking participants questions about their interests, demographics, and other information relevant to your project’s focus areas. Audience by QuestionPro can do that for you, providing the best quality in research and sampling. 


Choosing the correct market research participants is vital to the accuracy of any research project. Whether you decide to recruit via social media or by phone or use recruitment panels or referral programs, it is essential to remember that the quality of your sampling will directly impact the data you gather. 

At QuestionPro, we know that proper sampling defines the quality of your research. That’s why we ensure our tools provide you with the best possible participants for all your research needs.

Try Audience by QuestionPro and unlock the power of research!