How We Solve the User Research Industry’s Trust Issues

How We Solve the Researcher Industry’s Trust Issues

In 2016, Respondent set out with a mission to be the most trusted marketplace for sourcing high-quality research participants quickly and cost effectively. We needed to build a platform, and we also needed to build trust with the researchers who would use it.

For us, the issue of trust is first and foremost an issue of transparency. Traditional vendors in the market research industry often obscure the relationship between research participants and research clients. Clients are uninvolved in panel selection and often lack insight into the actual makeup of the panel.

Respondent sought to change that. We began by making full use of the information researchers provide to us when they publish a project:

  • Does the research target consumers or professionals with specific expertise?
  • What is the persona of the participant the researcher is seeking? Are they a DevOps engineer or are they interested in Sci-Fi?
  • Where does the participant live? Does it matter to the researcher?

Our matching engine drove the best fitting respondents to apply. Once a project filled with respondents, clients could actually see the names, locations, and details of their participants. By providing transparency into the panel, we empowered researchers to choose the highest quality respondents who best fit the brief of their research project.

As the marketplace scaled, and the volume of projects grew, it was no longer enough to surface the profile data entered by respondents.

Misrepresentation by a small group of participants amounted to reduced trust across the marketplace. Respondent researchers pay participants for completing studies, which led some respondents to change their profile information regularly so they could gain access to more studies, targeting a variety of target personas and locations. Qualitative research recruitment was particularly affected, and many of our B2B market research clients saw a decline in the quality of respondents.

We had to leverage data from across our platform

So we revisited our mission statement. In order to be ‘trusted’ for the quality of our respondents, we had to leverage data from across our platform to independently verify their quality. We now look at a host of different signals to determine quality.

1. Digital footprinting: Tracing participants’ location, device information, and other digital signals gives us the ability to combat respondents with duplicate accounts and misrepresented locations.

2. Researcher ratings: Researchers can rate and flag respondents, which gives us qualitative feedback at scale. As a result, researchers benefit from collective insights and our product team can use data to drive quality control..

3. Third party verification: Participant data is checked against third party sources for additional verification

4. Progressive profiling: Based on participant’s responses to project screeners, we quickly identify that signal fraud — and enrich participants profiles with real time persona data.

Our highest quality respondents are well-rated, consistently apply to studies with similar target personas, and share verifiable information about their employer and location.

In particular, verifiable employment and occupation data has come to be the bedrock of quality at Respondent. Researchers conducting B2B market and UX research, and the respondents who participate in their studies, are key to a continuous feedback loop which strengthens trust.

As our marketplace has evolved, so has our mission. With a foundation of trust, we are now focused on delivering high quality business professionals for qualitative research interviews. A clear focus on qualitative research means we can dedicate even more resources to delivering the highest quality participants. Trust is integral to everything we do at Respondent. We’ll continue to do everything we can to strengthen it!



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