Case Study: 

Inclusivity, Females and Gaming

Discover how we successfully recruited female respondents for a two-phase project about inclusivity in gaming, conquering complicated quota splits, specific criteria and more along the way in this in-person and mobile ethnography example!

Two young black women sitting in the sofa playing video games as part of an ethnography into video games and gender
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The Client

A world-renowned futures consultancy specialising in trend forecasting, consumer insight, foresight, brand strategy and innovation.

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The Objective

To investigate the future of inclusivity for women in games and gaming.

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The Methodology

Mobile and in-person ethnography.

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The Duration 

Part 1: 7 days. 
Part 2: 3 hours. 

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The Incentive 

A £70 Amazon voucher for the mobile ethnography, and £120 cash for the in-home visits 

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Our Participants 

25 female Birmingham-based gamers across a mix of ethnicities, cultures and values, aged 18-35. 


When our client came to us wanting to conduct a mobile ethnography in video games and gender, we were positively thrilled! With complicated quota splits, specific criteria to achieve and no room for error thanks to a January start, however, we also knew it would be a challenge... 

Read on to discover how we successfully recruited the full quota and enabled our client to gain fantastic and highly implementable results for their brand.  

Who was our client?

Our client for this project was a world-renowned futures consultancy specialising in trend forecasting, consumer insight, foresight, brand strategy and innovation. With these specialisms, they help brands understand and adapt to market trends for their future success.

What was the end goal? 

Our client wanted to investigate the future of inclusivity for games and gaming by conducting a seven-day WhatsApp study with young females.  

Because of the nature of the project, they wanted to recruit a combination of regular and casual female gamers across a mix of different ethnicities and cultures.  

As well as sourcing respondents for the week-long WhatsApp diary study, the client also wanted four of the respondents to complete a three-hour in-home ethnographic study for a deeper dive into the gaming habits of women. 

Who were the participants?

The participants were 20 female regular and casual gamers aged between 18 and 35. They were all based in Birmingham but had a mix of ethnic, cultural and value-based backgrounds.  

What challenges did we face?

Participant engagement over the festive period 

Because recruitment kicked off just before Christmas ready for a New Year start, attention to detail was more important than ever and there was no room for error (luckily, that’s our speciality)!  

Complex quota splits

As well as recruiting a combination of regular and casual gamers (which alone was tricky due to respondents frequently changing their answers), we also needed to source a diverse range of respondents across a mix of ethnicities and cultures.  

We also had to prioritise females who either identified as feminists or who were sensitive to gender and equality issues, and there needed to be a 50/50 split between Android and iOS mobile users too.  

The two-stage process 

Our client also needed to take four of the selected respondents on to complete a three-hour in-home study.  

We, therefore, had to ensure that we recruited only the highest quality and most engaged participants and had to be super-hot at organisation to ensure those selected would be ready to take part in the ethnographic research at short notice. 

The Angelfish twist... 

If you ever need real-life mobile ethnography examples that include a lot of challenges, this is certainly one of the top ones to refer to! However, the Angelfish team pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of this project by:  

Carrying out an in-depth and thorough client briefing  

 Before we got started, we needed to make sure we understood exactly what the client wanted to achieve so we could work together in a strong partnership and provide advice along the way.  

That’s why we kicked things off with a thorough telephone briefing: by really getting to know the client and the overall project objective, we were able to build a two-way partnership and use our instincts to put only the best potential respondents forward.  

Completing screening and validation to the highest standard 

Due to the complex nature of the recruit, we often had to go with gut instinct on whether the respondents were right for the study.  

Because of this, it was also clear that comprehensive screening and validation was vital - so, to make sure only the absolute best people went through, we got the whole team involved right from the initial brief and ensured we implemented a thorough telephone validation which really helped us smash it!  


Deploying a range of foolproof recruitment techniques 

When it came to recruitment, we used a range of techniques to make sure we delivered high-quality respondents who perfectly matched the requested criteria. Our recruitment methods included: 

  • dedicated panels and refer-a-friend campaigns 
  • highly targeted social media campaigns that specifically reached out to female gamers aged 18-35 in Birmingham. 

Thanks to a combination of engaging content, attention-grabbing images and clever targeting, we were able to really drill down into the demographic.  

Providing additional expertise and advice

Because of our strong relationship with the client, our project team also provided additional advice which helped to transform this ethnography on video games and gender.  

For example, the original plan was for the project to be a group WhatsApp study, but we advised that, due to GDPR, it would need to be one-to-one.   

We also suggested emphasising the importance of inclusivity as part of the recruitment pitch, to excite a diverse sample of women to want to take part. 

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The results

We’re really happy with the results of this one!  

Because the client understood the importance of having an overrecruit when conducting a study in such a niche area, it meant that we successfully filled all quotas.  

We also achieved 80% engagement, which for this particular audience (along with complicated quotas and a tricky time of year) was a fantastic result.   

The feedback for the ethnographic study was excellent as well, with all four hitting the specific quota mixes required! 

Key takeaways 

Always start your project with an in-depth brief – the more you can put yourselves in the clients' shoes, the more confidently you’ll be able to make a judgement call on whether respondents are the right fit for your research. 

Make screening and validation your top priority – particularly where there is a complex quota, thorough screening and validation is essential to selecting the highest quality participants. 

Get creative with your recruitment – there are never too many avenues you can follow to find the best participants for your study. Ensure that they appeal to your target audience, too! 

Choose the right fieldwork agency – the more experience they have in your particular field and the kind of research you are looking to conduct, the better the advice they’ll be able to provide and implement. 

What next?

If you have read this real-life mobile ethnography example and would like to experience similar results for your business, get in touch with us today! 

When you enlist our help with your qualitative market research recruitment, you’ll have your own dedicated and experienced project management team who will work with you from the start to help with your project.  

Whatever your target audience, our team will make it happen. We’ll provide expert advice, regular updates and complete management of the process, and we’ll be on hand throughout the duration of your project to provide expert guidance every step of the way.