User Research Recruitment

Unpacking Research Incentives: 3 Frequently Asked Questions

Charts with insights from our research incentive calculator and answers to questions about best incentives to recruit healthcare professionals and IT directors.

What is the key to recruiting relevant, high quality participants at speed? Choosing the right participant recruitment source and picking the right incentive are obviously a big part of the answer and our incentive calculator can help with the latter. Since the tool went live, it has spurred a bunch of questions, which we tackle in this article.

Key factors that affect incentives

Actionable insights are the goal of most research studies. Top quality participants are the fuel of effective user research and accurate research incentives are the key to ensuring actionable insights. Respondent's wealth of data about participant recruitment, led us to an analysis of the various factors that underpin the optimal research incentive for a given audience.


As we outlined in a deep dive into the incentive calculator, the time requested from a participant was the single most important factor influencing the expected incentive. 

As we worked to tease out the variables in the formula, based on the data and response patterns from millions of participants, the factors that stood out in our analysis in descending order of precedence were:

  1. Time requested in a research study
  2. Rarity of audience profile or relative 'nicheness'
  3. Subjective importance of participant quality for the project
  4. Participant location
  5. Format of research - remote or in-person
  6. Urgency of recruiting

The one that sticks out in this list, here is the subjective premium placed on participant quality, for the simple reason that no researcher 'wants' poorer quality of participants, but often there may be room to widen the audience targeting requirements or explore additional target segments that may be easier to recruit.

Higher incentives do not automatically guarantee participant quality nor do they ensure that participant recruitment gets done faster. However, an increased incentive can help with both those factors, provided that is a priority for a given project, when combined with the right recruiting methods.

How research incentives for popular occupations vary by country


The above chart depicts the average research incentives in USD, normalized to 60 minute sessions, offered by researchers to recruit family physicians, healthcare practitioners and senior health care management staff worldwide. 

Research recruiting for healthcare professionals is a high-demand segment, with nuanced targeting requirements (from medical specializations to front-office requirements to advanced screening requirements such as certifications). The Respondent panel has tens of thousands of healthcare professionals, spanning most large economies and researchers have frequently chosen to use us for these projects, to take advantage of the simplicity of recruiting and easy workflows for securing non-disclosure agreements, scheduling and payments.



Information technology professionals are one of the most sought after occupations in B2B user research on Respondent. The geographic variation between key markets for IT professionals at the director level of seniority, is not too dissimilar from that for healthcare professionals.

The consistency in patterns across occupations is interesting because this represents an opportunity for research teams to widen their targeting criteria, IF their project brief allows it. For instance, it is more realistic to interchangeably recruit IT directors from Mexico or Canada for a remote research study targeting B2B software products for system administrators than to do it for healthcare professionals between the two countries. 

How do research incentives vary between occupations?


The Respondent participant panel is classified on the basis of occupation categories spanning almost 700 categories, derived from the BLS NAICS codes. The above chart depicts the ranges of incentives, normalized for 1 hour sessions across different occupation categories. The minimum and maximum values in these ranges are indicative of the incentive offered in ~70% of projects offered to these segments, consistent with a normal distribution.

Have more questions about incentives? Got feedback on how we can improve our research incentive calculator? Let us know by writing to us.


Read next