In an era with increased use of online methodologies for market research, our clients often ask how we validate respondents' identities. This is because a respondent may claim to own or use a specific product during the screening call, but fail to demonstrate actual engagement during the interview.
We know that high-quality research requires respondents who meet the client’s criteria precisely and when this doesn’t happen, it has the potential to compromise the reliability and usefulness of the insights gathered. In this post, we explore the respondent verification methods we use at FieldworkHub to guarantee the success of our clients’ projects.
We begin by sending an initial screening questionnaire to respondents, carefully avoiding biases or leading questions. For instance, instead of asking directly about a particular brand, we ask respondents to select from a list of brands. This prevents inadvertent highlighting of the brand being tested and allows us to identify potentially fraudulent or inaccurate responses.
Our experienced in-house recruitment team then conduct a phone verification with potential respondents, who meet the survey criteria. We assess their ability to articulate their views and ask random questions about product features to gauge their familiarity and ownership. In some complex projects, respondents are asked to provide proof of ownership or use, such as pictures of the product.
On a recent project testing virtual reality headsets, potential respondents sent us pictures of themselves holding their headsets to confirm their ownership.
Where possible, we also leverage publicly available information to verify respondents' identities. This involves cross-referencing respondent information provided during screening with their online profiles, ensuring consistency and reducing the risk of fraudulent responses. This is most applicable to our B2B and healthcare studies where we utilise LinkedIn, the General Medical Council (GMC) register as well as the Nursing and Midwifery Council register. These are all useful tools that provide enough data points to enable us to verify respondents’ positions or levels of experience.
At FieldworkHub, we have invested the time and resources to build a robust verification process that ensures that our clients can confidently collect reliable data from their target audience. Ultimately, this provides our clients with the assurance that any research projects we undertake will deliver valuable insights which in turn can help our clients gain a competitive edge in today's dynamic business environment.