Here's a great example of the importance of working with an experienced focus group participant recruiter who, not only performs the recruitment in-house, but works with the client to write the right recruitment screener.Keith Phillips is a Senior Research Methodologist at SSI, a sampling data provider in the United States. Recently, he blogged about asking the right screener questions to find parents in this 21st Century society of single parents and blended families. It's the 'juice box challenge' that exposes the divide that can develop between the researcher and the recruiter when they're not one in the same.
It's a market researcher's worse nightmare. We screen ahead of time for parents of kids 8 to 10 years old. Then we gather a group of fathers and mothers together for a small focus group and ask them if the would buy a new type of juice box for their child.
One father answers "no" and when as ask why, he explains that his child lives across the country and he hasn't seen him in years. That's awkward for everyone in the group and embarrassing for the researcher in front of the their client. The father didn't do anything wrong. He answered all the pre-screening questions honestly, but the researcher failed to ask the right questions.
Keep in mind that researchers who do not perform the recruitment can also recreate situations like this one because they may not completely understand the recruitment process. The fact is, many researchers subcontract out the recruitment to someone else because, in many cases, they lack the resources to serve as the recruiter as well.Here at ShapardResearch, we do not use subcontractors. We are the researcher, the recruiter and the moderator (when needed) -- all in one. We understand the recruitment process and are able to apply this knowledge and experience to making sure the focus group screen is crafted correctly for every project.