Producing good quality research data isn’t easy. In order to get a good cross section of the population to take part in surveys, you need to apply a lot of hard work, science and a good understanding of human behaviour. Behind the community of people that take part in online panels, there’s a science involved in building, managing and keeping fresh a panel designed to garner good research outcomes. As with any science, we know there’s some key factors that need to be understood in order to create a good quality online research panel.

Here are the most important:

  • A high quality research panel should not only be representative of the population in terms of demographics, it should also be representative of the population in terms of attitudes. That means having a range of people taking part in surveys, and doing so for quite different reasons.
  • Recruit people onto the panel using a wide range of techniques – online and offline, and promoted through different channels to ensure diversity.
  • Make participation convenient, easy, even fun, by ensuring surveys can be completed anytime, on any device, without overburdening people with long repetitive question sets.
  • Avoid survey junkies – the reasons are fairly obvious, ultimately poor research data.
  • Make sure you get the incentives right – provide a range of incentives that will appeal to the broad variety of people you’d like to attract.
  • Good response rates – find ways to keep people involved, help them feel committed.

Our online research panel buzzthepeople gives panellists the opportunity to earn points for themselves or donate their points to support a charity, school or community group. Almost half of panellists choose the latter. This aspect to our panel membership is vital in terms of achieving that attitudinal balance, and providing a broad base of well-rounded and committed people.

This unique panel sourcing and incentivisation model overcomes limitations sometimes associated with research panels because members don’t just join purely for the cash and prizes offered. We have panellists who are contributing to their child’s school or sports team. They’re from a broad cross section of the population and because they’re contributing to their community they tend to be more committed.

Why is this important? Now’s probably a good time to note how important quality respondents are to good research. The quality of respondents will largely determine the robustness of the answers you get in surveys. In order for clients to make decisions based on the research results, it’s important to be confident you’re talking to the right people; people who are the same as your market in their age, gender, wealth, location and attitudes.

Buzz Channel regularly review our processes and panel management approaches against international Best Practice.

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