Strategic Research Associates Blog :: How we Group: The Focus Group Recruiting Process

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How we Group: The Focus Group Recruiting Process

Participants are recruited by Random Dialing or through the database to participate in Focus Groups.

To make any project work we have to recruit the right people to participate. There can be no group discussion without a group. To find the best fit for our groups we recruit either through random digit dialing or through our database of opt-in research participants.

Random Dialing

Random digit dialing is just that, we dial randomly generated numbers listed in the area we are researching. We ask whoever answers if they want to take part in our research. If they say yes, we ask them a few questions to see if they qualify for the group.

You may be wondering why we are allowed to call randomly; especially if your number happens to be on a federal “Do Not Call” list. It’s mostly because we’re therefore not trying to sell you anything (if anything we’re trying to give you money). As a research organization only interested in your opinions we are not required to exclude numbers from the national “Do Not Call” list in our calling efforts according to the FCC Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

That being said, we do maintain our own internal “Do Not Call” list for anyone who does not want us to contact them. To add yourself simply email us any phone number you would like us to permanently remove from future calling to


Our other primary source of recruits is our database. Our database is a list of opt-in participants (that we do not share with anyone and only use for recruiting purposes) who have signed up to participate in research projects through an online sign up form, taken part in a previous research project, or been called through random dialing and chose to be added to our calling list for future projects. All database information we collect we keep private and only use for research recruiting. We never sell or share any personally identifying information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Whenever we have a new project that requires our database to recruit, any database members that may fit are the first to know. One of the first things we do for a new project is send out an email to database members asking them to take an online survey to see if they qualify for the group.

If you are a part of our database and you haven’t seen any such emails we recommend you first check your junk folder — in addition to any other odd folders these emails could have been sorted into (such as your promotions folder if you are a gmail user) — and add the email address to your contacts list to keep the emails from being mis-placed later.

The survey itself usually doesn’t take very long and helps us find and prequalify potential participants based on your answers. All of our projects are very specific about who can participate so unfortunately we can’t take everyone who completes the survey.

For those database members who do not have email addresses on file, we also conduct calls off of our database list.

Anyone who is a member of our database can ask to be removed at any time either by email, phone call, or by clicking the “Update my profile” link we include in any email we send, choosing the “Unsubscribe” checkbox, and submitting the change.

The Process

Whether you are recruited for a project through random calling or from our database the qualification questions are all the same. These are the questions we ask everyone to see if they may fit in a project based on participation requirements (things such as if you have experience with a particular product or service).

Depending on your answers during the qualification interview or survey (whether completed on the phone or online) one of two things can happen. You can either qualify and be recruited for the group or you may not qualify and your information can be kept on file for future recruiting.

If you are recruited for the group you will receive another call from us to double check a couple of your answers to our original questions just to be really sure you fit the group. Then you are sent an email and paper letter with your group details such as time, location, and incentive (how much we pay you). You will also be contacted again the day before the group to make sure you’re still planning on coming.

We send your final reminder by email, but if you don’t hit the “Attending” button we’ll also call you. If for any reason you are unable to make it to a group you have been recruited for we ask that you contact us as soon as possible. We only recruit as many people as we need and if possible, we need to fill the chair you would be leaving empty.

If you do not qualify for the group a few things can happen. If we called you randomly we may ask if you would like to be added to our database and contacted about future projects. If you are a member of our database we update your file with the answers you provide during the qualification interview or survey. This way we can be sure we are only contacting you about projects you may qualify for.

Whether or not you qualify for the project we initially contact you about, we are always looking for more people for our database. You’re the people who make our work possible. If you’re not in our database, think about signing up.

To learn more about the kinds of focus groups we do, check out our next post: Focus Groups, Mock Trials, and What They’re all About.

Participants are recruited by Random Dialing or through the database to participate in Focus Groups.