Part 2: Setting the Stage for Potential Flexibility

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This is part two of a four-part newsletter dedicated to specific screener writing strategies that will help to enhance screeners in order to maximize the quality respondents for a qualitative market research study. See Part 1: Maximize the Quality of Your Participants.

Sometimes the pace of recruitment can go slower than expected especially for lower incidence targets. One way to speed up the recruitment process is by allowing for some flexibility within the screener quotas. Recruiting companies understand that some quotas simply cannot be flexed because they are essential to finding qualified respondents. Creating a screener from the onset that will make it possible to flex some of the softer quotas means providing small incremental answers. This allows recruiters to quickly way find the next best thing from within the pool of standbys, which is comprised of “almost qualified” respondents.

Providing questions that give a variety of responses, each varying slightly, is a great way to set the stage for potential flexibility. This is especially important for questions that involve numerical options. Providing incremental answers is a smart way to get the most precise answer. In the event that quotas change slightly, recruiters do not have to re-screen potential respondents; the answers will already be there.


Less than $25,000 [Thank and terminate]
a. $25,000-$50,000 [Thank and terminate]
b. $50,000-$75,000 [Continue]
c. $75,000-$100,000 [Continue]
d. $100,000 and above [Continue]

This example does not contain sufficient variety to allow for reasonable flexibility. Considering the other screener quotas that may be more important than household income, there may not be a large enough pool of qualified respondents earning $50,000+ annually. The focus group date may be fast approaching and the commissioning agency may approve the inclusion of respondents who earn $40,000+ annually in order to help speed up recruitment. Having a flexible screener at onset would mean that the recruitment agency would have a pool of potential respondents who are earning the newly approved household income on standby to contact with an invitation to the focus group immediately. Conversely, not having a screener that is set up for flexibility would cause further delays as all of the respondents who mentioned earning $25,000-$50,000 would have to be rescreened in order to find those who are earning $40,000+ annually which makes the process more time consuming.


Please state your total household income
a. Less than $19,999 [Thank and terminate]
b. $20,000-$29,999 [Thank and terminate]
c. $30,00-$39,999 [Thank and terminate]
d. $40,000-$49,999 [Thank and terminate]
e. $50,000-$59,999 [Continue]
f. $60,000-$69,999 [Continue]
g. $70,000-$79,999 [Continue]
h. $80,000-$89,999 [Continue]
i. $90,000-$99,999 [Continue]
j. $100,000 and above

Writing a question this way allows the recruiting agency to find respondents who qualify as per the new specs much faster.

The next newsletter will focus on our takeaways from the MRIA Annual Conference 2014 taking place June 8-11 in Saskatoon. In August we will continue with part three of the screener writing strategies series.