4 min read

How to recruit high quality participants for user research

Here are some strategies from the Hubble team to help you find and select high-quality participants.
Written by
Brian Byun
Published on
Thursday, September 29, 2022

Recruiting high-quality user research participants is essential for obtaining valuable insights that can inform your design and product development decisions. Here are some strategies from the Hubble team to help you find and select high-quality participants.

1. Clearly Define Your Criteria:

Begin by defining precise participant criteria. Think about the characteristics that are most relevant to your research, such as age, gender, experience level, location, or specific behavioral traits.

2. Use a Detailed Screener Questionnaire:

Develop a thorough screener questionnaire that aligns with your participant criteria. This questionnaire will help you filter out participants who do not meet your requirements.

3. Recruit from Specific Channels:

  • Use Hubble’s dedicated participant pool
  • If you want to find participants manually, target specialized online communities and forums where your ideal participants are likely to congregate. For example, if you’re designing a healthcare app, consider recruiting from healthcare-related online communities.
  • Utilize professional networks like LinkedIn if you’re looking for participants with specific job roles or expertise.

4. Leverage Personal Networks and Referrals:

  • If possible, tap into your own network or ask colleagues for referrals. People who are referred are often more reliable and engaged.
  • Ask existing participants if they know of others who might be a good fit.

5. Offer Appropriate Incentives:

High-quality participants are more likely to commit their time if they feel fairly compensated. Offer competitive incentives, which could be monetary or non-monetary (e.g., gift cards, product discounts, early access to features).

6. Screen Participants Effectively:

Pay close attention to responses to your screener questionnaire. It’s not just about matching demographics but also assessing participants’ communication skills, motivation, and relevance to your research goals.

7. Overbook if Possible:

Consider recruiting a few extra participants in case some drop out or are not as engaged as you hoped. This provides a buffer to ensure you still meet your desired sample size.

8. Diversity in Research:

  • Aim for diverse representation among your participants, as this can lead to more comprehensive insights.
  • Ensure you have a mix of new and existing users, as their perspectives may differ.

9. Build Trust and Communication:

  • Establish a rapport with participants and communicate clearly about the study’s purpose, expectations, and the importance of their feedback.
  • Provide them with a clear schedule and instructions.

10. Prioritize Engagement and Feedback Quality:

  • During the research sessions, encourage open and honest feedback. Make participants feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
  • Use skilled moderators or facilitators who can guide the sessions effectively.

11. Feedback on Recruitment Process:

Ask participants for feedback on the recruitment and research process. This can help you improve the experience for future participants.

12. Maintain a Participant Database:

Keep a database of willing and high-quality participants for future studies. This can save time in future recruitment efforts.

Recruiting high-quality user research participants requires a combination of thorough planning, targeted outreach, effective communication, and proper incentives. By following these strategies, you can increase the likelihood of finding participants who provide valuable insights for your research. Do you have any additional suggestions & tips on how to recruit high quality participants? Please let us know at!