FEATURE6 January 2022

It’s the taking part that counts: Improving the participant experience

x Sponsored content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

Features Impact Innovations Trends

The research industry must work harder to improve the experience of people taking part in surveys, or risk declining participation numbers and poorer results for clients. Steve Hemsley reports.


There is increasing anecdotal evidence that many people who participate in market research find the process tiresome, and they can feel confused or misled when it comes to knowing what is expected of them. Engagement levels among those asked to take part has, arguably, hit an all-time low, according to some in the industry.

This trend should concern everyone; participants are the foundation of the research sector, but they can be overlooked and poorly paid. Issues such as poor survey design and time-intensive screeners are leading to an unsatisfactory overall experience.

There is a now a strong feeling within the industry that, unless the problem is addressed, the pool of willing respondents will shrink, and the quality of the research clients are paying for could decline significantly. The bottom line, say those concerned, is that the industry needs to pay more attention to the needs of participants.

While face-to-face research has work to do in this area, the biggest problem seems to be with online quantitative surveys. When ...